Student(s): Feras Abdallah
Instructor(s): Karla Trott
Course: LARCH 3950: Design Studio V: Design in Detail
Term: Spring 2016

The goal of this project is to reflect the sacred-profane dichotomy and the processional narrative prevalent in Dante's Divine Comedy. In designing for the dead, the character of the space reflects that very dichotomy: in this case, the profane being dark, and the sacred being light. Overcoming the loss of a loved one always begins with it's most potent strike. I wanted the visitor to experience a dark threshold moment at thestart, followed by a narrow ramp leading down to the darkforest, which is where Dante's descension begins. Intrigued by the framed view of the lake, the visitor continues on the main processional path. The next threshold moment happens at the portal to the underworld, the space below the graveyard. The standard six foot deep holes that encapsulate a coffin break the ceiling plane becoming an extruded surface for the space below. Suspending the bodies allows for a new and unique experience for our loved ones no longer with us. Skylights offer connections to the sky, and sky rooms allow for private moments of sorrow. A framed view of the lake guides the visitor, as they transition from the space below to the open shoreline. The ascension into heaven begins. A ramp leads them up to the sacred space, where the graveyard can be experienced differently from above. A large inaccessible planter is elevated to metaphorically represent rebirth and afterlife. A chapel that faces the lake is located at the end of the procession, and it's architecture reflective of the cosmos. Here is where  Dante's journey ends, returning him to the everyday.