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An Urban Mausoleum

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Student name: 
Kevin Stewart
Master 1
Benjamin Wilke
ARCH 0641: Accelerated Architectural Design I
Autumn 2016

The project goal was to create an addition to the Cimitero Monumentale in Bologna, Italy that provides burial space in the form of columbaria while considering the following:


1.       Look for innovative and meaningful ways that a cemetery/mausoleum can be experienced

2.       Create a solution that sufficiently addresses Bologna, the Cimitero monumentale, and the site

3.       Define a relationship between two unlike environments: the cemetery and the city

4.       Examine the connection between a cemetery and the architectural, historical, and/or cultural identity of the city

5.       Consider the relationship of the project to the ground


In addition, research and experimentation on the following issues were considered:

1.       Traditional and non-traditional precedents

2.       Ideal volumes and forms and imperfect variations thereof

3.       Cellular and aggregate constructions/systems, with intent to identify volumetric strategies

4.       Footedness (or the relationship of figures or structures to the ground)


This particular design began with an investigation into the nature and growth patterns of coral. The skeletons of dead coral polyps form the structure a reef, on top of which the living coral attach and live. A study of the clustering patterns of coral was the basis for the field/grid that organizes the site.



The site steps downward in tiers toward a central gathering space, where services can be held if needed. This sunken relationship between the mausoleum and the ground reinforces the relationship between 1) life and death and 2) public and sacred space. Surrounding this central space are several “neighborhoods” where individual “coral polyps” have been removed from the field in order to create private reflection spaces. 

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