This studio was based on a class trip to Istanbul Turkey in January 2013. The synthesis of the trip was to extract each students unique interpretation of the sacred in the 21st century.
The cycle of life is studded with contrast as individuals forge their way through the complex, sensory world. It becomes clear to the avid observer that it is through contrast that we are able to fully appreciate opposing qualities of space, time, spirituality, and built form. The city of Istanbul reveals itself to the visitor in a full expression of these paradoxical characteristics. The aged buildings speak to the layers of history that identify the cities landmarks whereas new construction and international franchising stand as an essential counterpoint. The mosques and the call to prayer make the visitor aware of the strong presence of the sacred, whereas the current trend towards tourism and commerce speak directly to the profane. The busyness of the streets and bazaars, the vendors, the locals, the tourists, the animals, creates a multilayered sensory experience that is present at all hours of the day. I find myself drawn to the spaces and moments where the busyness subsides.
The Basilica Cistern, dark and cavern-like in nature, creates a strong sensory experience where one is able to enter a reflective and pensive mood, likened to a meditative state. A feeling of oneness with the raw elements, the dripping of water, the coldness of the stone, slowly envelops the individual in restful solitude. All senses activated. As Juhani Pallasmaa (2005) states: “[a]nyone who has become entranced by the sound of dripping water in the darkness of a ruin can attest to the extraordinary capacity of the ear to carve the volume into the void of darkness. The space traced by the ear in the darkness becomes a cavity sculpted directly in the interior of the mind”. The question remains however, would the appreciation of the sacred felt in the darkness be known without light? Of silence without noise? Of observer without being observed? Eastern aesthetics dictate that the paradoxical characteristics of both elements of design, and other daily endeavours, are essential in the full experience of space and place.
The experience of death and its corresponding rituals in the 21st century is much different that that of the past, as a direct result of overlapping beliefs and definitions of the sacred. The importance then, of a designed space that makes an impact on the memory of the visitor, in essence creates the reason to keep returning to the space, as a sort of ritual commemorating the loved ones lost.
The Ruins Remembrance Centre will be located at 100 rue des Ruines du Monastery, in Winnipeg Manitoba at the site of the century old (1904-1905) monastery ruins. The building will be home to a full service memorial centre that acknowledges the current environmental impact of traditional funerary practices and burial. The Ruins Remembrance Centre focuses upon challenging the existing model of the funeral home by giving individuals a more humanistic, natural, and ecological focus to the processes surrounding bereavement. The unique typology that is the remembrance centre accommodates those who are looking for an alternative ceremony to celebrate the life of a loved one. The Centre includes a non-denominational transformable/flexible space that fulfills the role of memorial chapel, reception and celebration space. The celebration of life ceremonies, typically begin with a remembrance service followed by a procession that concludes with a natural burial in the living memorial park directly across the river from the building. A reception follows the service and procession.
1 Pallasmaa, Juhani. (2005). The Eyes of the Skin. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons.
Interior Design, Interior and Exterior Material Selection and Styling
The Monkery is an in-progress residential project that was designed for a client seeking rural prairie influence in a minimalist contemporary expression.
A desire for openness and airiness is achieved through a neutral color palette that allows natural elements derived on site, as well as materials exclusive to Manitoba to become the focal points of the space.
Universal accessibility was deeply considered in the interior space planning of this bungalow to ensure that the house will suit the client into old-age.
Interior Design services available upon request
kitchen view with solid wood open shelving, brass drawer pulls and white concrete counter tops
Feature kitchen wall with Manitoba Tyndall stone
View of kitchen island faced with 100 year-old Manitoba grain elevator wood
Bathroom featuring old fashioned trough sink, custom wood shelves (milled from trees taken down on site) and organic shaped hand-cast bathtub
7’-0” solid oak pivot entrance Door
Memento Mori Memorial Centre & Columbarium
What is the meaning of death? What was death in the past? What is death in the contemporary context? Death, as a subject of human fascination since primitive times, has had the power to fascinate, destroy, inspire, corrupt, litter and beautify. It is a topic wrought with dichotomy and rich meaning that deserves to be studied, and in turn, to be enhanced and supported through the design of interior space.
Currently, in North America, complacency overwhelms our death-care industry, where deathspaces lack meaning, innovation and sensorial significance. This practicum project aims to address the phenomenological role of the interior in enlivening and bringing rich meaning to deathspaces in the 21st century context.
As death is an unavoidable aspect of the human condition, the importance in creating alternatives to existing typologies is pertinent. In the form of an urban cemetery complex and columbarium, this project challenges the traditional cemetery typology where it is re-imagined and enhanced through the interiors perspective. The cemetery is re-envisioned, as it once was, as an integral part of the urban fabric; a strong sense of place is therefore activated through human interaction with interior space.
The aim of this practicum project is to design a non-sectarian death space; a space that breaks open the barriers currently placed on grief, echoing and supporting the dichotomy and gravity of loss in the contemporary context.