A Design for a Non-Sectarian Memorial Site in Seattle

Click here to read Queena Yi’s 2013 Master of Architecture thesis, proposing a design for a non-sectarian public memorial site in Seattle:

This thesis proposes a reinsertion of memorial spaces into the Seattle city core to re-establish the connection between the dead and living, replacing the rarely visited cemetery landscape with spaces woven into the urban fabric, enabling them to enrich the human experience by charging our everyday lives with the emotional power that comes from awareness of our own mortality.

Adjacent to the Olympic Sculpture Park, the project attempts to return the northwest corner to the park extending it as a public courtyard. The volume above, a media library, provides a public memorial space where visitors can hear stories of those that have passed and record their own, creating a digital archive of the lives of those who live in or visit Seattle. The archive attempts to reinforce the role of storytelling, as ritual and memorial to strengthen the connection to our past in order to better understand our future. The perforated steel facade pattern is derived from a DNA sequence to remind us of the genetic make-up that signifies the uniqueness of each individual.

The program below ground level consists of a ceremonial hall, reflection rooms, gathering spaces, Resomation facilities, enshrinement room and a columbarium tunnel that opens out to Elliott Bay. Processional ramps that begin as wide spaces compress in size towards the end of the procession separating the program areas in order to prepare the visitor for each step of the process. The focus is on the ritual; not dictating the process but allowing for many interpretations of the process.

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