Catalina Sepulveda Riveros
bachelor of architectural studies
Thousands of New Yorkers resting in identical pine caskets are buried in a “graveyard of last resort”. As a place of rest for the marginalised residents of New York, Hart Island currently mimics the reality of these individuals. The Effulgence scheme aims to bring awareness to Hart Island and its changing landscape, transforming the site into an honourable place of rest.
The scheme is placed along a main vertical axis, with its linearity representing passage of time. This axis physically cuts through the site, creating a trench that due to rising sea levels, will start filling up with water over time.
The Mortuary focuses on connection between occupants and environment, the driving concept behind it are organic shapes found in morpho-ecologies. The fragmented nature of the Mortuary allows for everyday life to extend beyond a single structure – forcing users to experience the landscape.
The path between the Mortuary and Memory Mausoleum is located among two previous burial sites. This area is intentionally left devoid of structures, allowing visitors to acknowledge the presence of buried bodies through the absence of architecture.
The scheme ultimately culminates in a tall “lighthouse”. As a memorial to the COVID victims buried in the island, the lighthouse can be seen off shore, lighting up at night and projecting light across the site through the axis; creating security among New York residents in the fact that they will be remembered should they pass away.