unisa architecture and interior architecture annual exhibition 2021


Lai Yin Chan

bachelor of architectural studies

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My name is Lai Yin Chan, Perry. I am a student in the bachelor of architectural studies course. The final studio project this year is about designing a mortuary and memory mausoleum in Hart Island, an island located in New York, United States. Since 1869, Hart Island has served as a public cemetery for New York City. Currently, over a million bodies have been buried on the site, most of them were forgotten by the city due to being homeless. The aim of this project is to memorialise those who were forgotten and improve the burial system on Hart Island.

I have done some research on Hart Island and realised that there is not much land left for land burial. So, I suggest changing the burial type from land burial to human recompose burial. Human recompose is an eco-friendly burial by turning the human body into soil.

There are 3 concepts in my design, which are respect, sacred and peace. These concepts assisted me to create a space to memorialise the deceased, through materials, lighting and reflection from the water. When visitors enter the mortuary and mausoleum, instead of feeling soundless and chill, they will feel warm and peaceful. There is a memorial walk connecting the mortuary and mausoleum. The water reflection allows visitors to reflect on the stories of the homeless after they walk through the memorial walk and read the history of Hart Island.


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