Foster + Partners Graduate Show, December 2004.

Title: Funerary Complex
Designer: Matt Fajkus, AIA


The Funerary Complex project by Fajkus was published in the Foster Grad Show publication. Childhood recollections of solitude and emotional refuge in an underground tornado shelter inspired the design of this place for remembering the dead. The design aims to reconsider the traditional American funeral home typology by creating a more dignified and moving experience for this important life-cycle transition. The suburban Boston site is scattered with individual pods, or chapels, where the visitors may have a personal dialogue with death, and mourn in privacy, or collectively in a larger space. The individual chapels are accessible via an underground network, such that from ground level, the chapels simply appear as abstract sculptures in the landscape. Each solitary chapel is composed of concrete with a sinuous curved geometry, thus the only orienting device is direct sunlight. Since the exact light condition is only repeated once per year, one can visit a chapel a year after the passing to experience an identical space, to reflect and measure their recovery and rememberance. A collective chapel for group ceremonies allows views to the pods, which resemble tombs, but are inhabited by the living, in the act of remembering the dead.