Sien Swinnen

Sien Swinnen

Moving (on). UHasselt (Belgium)

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“Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.” - Isaac Asimov

The objective of the project is to bring back death to the world of the living in Maastricht. In my thesis, research has shown that the last few decades the place of the dead is moved from the heart of the city to the suburbs. By experiencing death as a taboo, dying feels like a true fault line while it actually is a part of our life. The dynamics of the site of ‘Het Landbouwbelang’ have inspired me in determining the program. The metaphor 'death as a journey' is the concept of this project and is embodied by a columbarium in combination with a transport hub. Inspired by the Roman Necropolis, visitors will first deal with death before they enter Maastricht. By involving death in this common process there will be a daily confrontation that will result in the acceptance of death as the end point of life. ‘Het Landbouwbelang’, the existing building on the site, will also undergo a transition. It will continue to exist, but a new layer will be added that will form a whole with the present. The addition of a tower, which is connected to the existing building by a plateau, will function as a landmark indicating that death is present in the city. The columbarium, in the shape of columns, determines the structure of the building. The design takes into account a future perspective, where the cars disappear and the columbarium can grow. In this way, the tower and the plateau will create a timeline. Disappeared rituals will come back to life in this design. A 'death-tram' will be implemented and boats will be used in the mourning process. A daily routine will thus transform into a new ritual.

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