unisa architecture and interior architecture annual exhibition 2021


Chelsea Staples

bachelor of architectural studies

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Hart Island is a place of burial in New York. The site shows great potential for a public mausoleum to remember loved ones with the addition to new facilities for workers on site. The new design on Hart Island is called progressive reflection. The idea of reflection is shown in many cultures as a sign of remembrance.

The design of the mausoleum is a reflective exterior with a dark interior symbolising a coffin in the ground with the shape of the roof and the angles are designed to follow the contours of a body.

There are 19 coffins in the ground, memorialising the deaths of COVID 19, with skylights above each one and the last central one being a memorial for Ellen Torron, a victim of COVID. Each coffin has quotes written by families that have lost loved ones to COVID on the bottom of them, so when looked into from above you read something meaningful written about someone buried on the island and reflect on the impact COVID has had on people’s lives.

The path between the coffins is elevated from the water and is inspired by a family tree and how different peoples lives change in different directions as they progress through their lives, with some paths unfortunately ending.

Light and dark is another concept used through the scheme. Throughout the day and the different seasons, light shines through each skylight and creates light tunnels towards each coffin. When the light hits the coffin it will reflect and create new paths of light inside the dark mausoleum.


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