unisa architecture and interior architecture annual exhibition 2021


Orly Darwent

bachelor of architectural studies

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In the case of the Hart Island Living Memorial the challenge of commemoration is one of the memorialisation of the absence of identity. As such, it is the very lack of identity that connects all the lost souls of New York’s unclaimed and unidentified buried on Hart Island. Consequently, the proposal for the multi-functional mortuary and memorial was centred around the concept of reflecting absence. Reflection is a common sign employed in memorial architecture, due to its ability to elicit introspective generation of meaning upon an individual basis for collective memorialisation. Consider then the paradox of the concept of Reflecting Absence. The very notion of reflection relies upon a presence to reflect. The proposal instead engages the observer in an absence of reflection; abstractions of the notion of reflection to engage the observer in the subjective, active process of meaning making in memorialisation.


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