Vertical Cemetery : Cemetery for Death of Religious Tolerance

Project Type : Cultural
Instructor : Professor Karen King
Location : New Mexico, USA
Tools : Rhinoceros 5.0, Grasshopper, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Vray

Spring 2017 : The University of New Mexico

“In virtually every heterogeneous society, religious difference serves as a source of potential conflict” (Brahm,2005). Moreover, as Fox (1997) points out, conflicts such as the civil wars in Afghanistan, the former Yugoslavia and the Sudan, the peace process in Israel and the conflict in Northern Ireland are essentially all conflicts between ethnic groups of different religions.”

We find that religious diversity is a significant and robust correlate of civil conflict. This is most robust at the second level of aggregation which implies that the cleavage between Hindus, Muslims, Jews, and Christians etc. is more relevant than that between either sub groups of religions like Protestantsand Catholics, Shias and Sunnis, etc. or that between higher levels of aggregation like Abrahamic and Indian religions.

The vertical cemetery for the Death of Religious Tolerance will represent a structure with conflict both inside and outside. The teared-up spaces themselves
form as floors with uneven surface causing the visitor a uncomfortable feeling. The primary circulation is through ramps and glass tunnels. Outerspace is filled with huge intricate geometry of carbon fibers.

View of Vertical Cemetery


Iteration 1

Iteration 4
Teared up spaces formed as
floors with ETFE Sheeting

Form undergoing

Iteration 2
Form tearing up due to

Iteration 5
Circulation through
Ramps and Glass tunnels

Form undergoing

Iteration 3
Carbon fiber as
Structural material

Iteration 6
Structure supported
by giant footing

Ramp View
Sectional Elevation

The study of what a religious system undergoes when it experience conflicts is experimented on a foam core, to understand how a material reacts when it undergoes tension.

Conceptual Models


”’I am not so much interested in ethics or morals,’ wrote the founder of deep ecology, Arne Naess. ‘I am interested in how we experience the world.’ Our experience of the world is a fusion between the internal landscape of our minds and our constructed reality. In this ‘mental ecology,’ to use Pallasmaa’s term, our body is the pivotal point of interface.”                           

- Sarah Robinson, “Of Havens”

The design process has begun with rigorous research on religion and religious conflicts. The fundamental motive of religion is to keep the humans stable in nature but when it began growing, the perception of religion by humans have changed and domination of one religion over other is   increased. Not only in between the religions but within the religions like Sunni-Shia, Catholics-Protestians, Hindu caste system, Russian orthodox system etc., making the world a worst place to live in.

The initial cocnepts were derived by applying tension on various materials like foam, wood, steel etc., and observed how every material reacts when it undergo tension. Further iterations helped to derive a structure with teared up spaces forming as Rumination space, Columbarium etc.
Carbon Fiber is chosen as building material because of its brittle in nature, being stronger material than steel resembling a religion which is created to create strength in humanity but ended up creating conflicts between humans.

Visitors have to walk through a glass tunnel to reach upper floors to get a insight of the intricate geometry outside the tunnel. Uneven floor spaces creates a discomfort making visitors realize how a religion when undergoes conflicts creates a disturbance in one’s life.

Interior view showing Glass tunnel

conceptual sketch
conceptual sketch

conceptual sketch
conceptual sketch

conceptual model
conceptual model

conceptual sketch
conceptual sketch

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