DAVID SAKUMOTO
ANTHEM/TEN

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FINAL THESIS

Necropolis Manifesto


“Only a very small part of architecture belongs to art: the tomb and the monument. Everything else that fulfills a function is to be excluded from the domain of art.” Adolf Loos


Understanding New York City’s influence and culture on cemeteries directs us to provoke a challenge to create a transformative design through infrastructure. This challenge questions the cultural affect of how New York City conducts ceremonial practices revolving around death. Through productive research, we understood that the city’s relationship to death is fraud with denial making cemeteries today feel invisible for the urban dwellers. In effect, ceremonial practices for loved ones are more hidden and jaded instead of celebrated in memory of one’s life. As a practical composition in today’s architecture, most cemeteries require horizontal land for graves and crematory niches which rely on a classical grid system. However, the city is not built for harvesting horizontal spaces, but rather it advances vertically. In response, we developed, researched, and experimented with a new vertical cemetery prototype, the Necropolis.


The proposal for the Necropolis addresses the gravity and existential questioning of New York’s urban culture on death. For this to create the visible connection between the city’s urban dwellers with cemeteries, monumentality must be introduced. Unlike all skyscrapers in New York City, our project acquires the integration of both cemetery and infrastructural program known as the sky tram. Monumentality becomes formal when positioned within site where we understand that the project acts independently in relation to other buildings, is isolated from all surrounding context, and floats above New York City’s urban fabric. Located near the vicinity of Roosevelt Island, two major entry levels are introduced. One is through transportation hubs within mid-section of the design and the other is through a below river walkway tunnel that connects Roosevelt Island to the Necropolis. Both cemetery and infrastructural programs are treated as “slow” and “fast” architecture respectively. The “slow” architecture represents the dense program of cemeteries where city dwellers commemorate the death of loved ones through ceremonial practices from their individual respected culture. The “fast” architecture represents the major transportation hubs for the sky tram to arrive and depart. The first hub directs users to Manhattan. The second hub directs users to Long Island City. To achieve strong integration of both “slow” and “fast architecture, the sky tram penetrates not just the exteriority of the Necropolis, but also through the interior core which explores how both daily activities of the pace of New Yorkers react with the grief and sorrow of loved ones.


The major argument for the Necropolis proposes the individualist qualities of spaces. Like New York City, the urban culture for city dwellers is not the same, but rather are spectrums of diverse communities. Unlike the modern skyscraper, the Necropolis has multiple fractures and facets where cemeteries, cathedrals, and chapels would occupy the city like how city dwellers experience New York City. With the sky tram submerged with fragmented cemetery topography like of a subway under a city, the Necropolis becomes a vertical city.


New York City as an urban typology reflects death through a multiplicity of emotional eradication, chaos, and entropy. With various chaotic fragmentations demonstrating that every space is designed to be different from one another, the project investigates the cultural convention of what a cemetery is and composes a new typology for the self-reflection of New Yorkers.

EXCERPT I

Second Round


In the second round, I come here again putting myself on the line to honor and respect the passion I contain and the work that blossoms from it. The fire inside is still ablaze and the work I produce comes through. From a typical reading analysis to pure poetry, I always register my emotions with my work. To the person whoever said, “Never get attached to your work.” I say, “If that is true, you have neither passion, fire, nor soul for the work you create.” Sometimes in turmoil, we create amazing work. Sometimes in anxiety, we create beauty. Designing has never been an easy subject to categorize or define as a general term. For me, to design is placing your heart for a gamble. You risk not just the idea you use, but the emotional attachment that fuels the idea to grow. Like gambling, if you fold you ideas, the more you lose. For me, I have folded multiple times in order to make others get richer. At times, I have given up my vision for the praise of another’s person’s ideas. However, this is the second round. In this round, there are no folds. There are no bluffs. There are no guarantees. In the second round, it’s just my thoughts, my emotions, and my risk. It’s your turn now. Do you take the bet?

EXCERPT II

The Cycle

     

Left alone to run

Afraid with strength and my drive

Taunted but indebt


The Battle

Naive and scared

Through ideas and manifestos

Lost and comprised of lonely nights,

I am eager to keep going

Head strong and driven,

I became consumed

Day to night, ideas role

Crumble

Build a new

I woke up to new heights

Branded to floors

Branded to walls

I fight to stay

I fought and won


The War

The fire still continues

It burns eternally without hesitation

I see clearly

The battle is multiplied

Ideas swirled

Scattered

Then were controlled

Boxed and caged,

Freedom was lost

Creativity was limited

But

Disipline had a price

Freedom was its cost

However,

Its was alright

No longer branded

To concrete structures

Faithful and controlled

I survived


The Cross Over

Light became visible

Ideas became clearer

Sharpened vision,

Creativity flowed easily

Production was praised

Unfolding and radifying

Endless battles

Became a

Generator for Innovation

The process continues

And at its peak

The cycle repeats


The Battle

The War

The Cross Over


Left alone to run

Afraid with strength and my drive

Taunted but indebt 

EXCERPT III

Trying for Worth


In our body, we chemically alter and change molecules that concern our survival, needs, desires, and feelings. These “concerned” molecules for our well-being become the catalyst of our movement, actions, and effects to other human molecules. “Why do we feel the way we feel” can be boiled down to a science of numerical and calculated derivatives of the change in ourselves.


Yeah, we would all love to believe that emotions can be controlled to a science where instead of having “10 steps to live a happier life” magazine cover, that there is a syringe of “happy” to inject on a daily basis. Wouldn’t that end all our problems? Wouldn’t that create absolute withdrawal of conflict? Wouldn’t that be a space of no worth?


From point “a” to point “b”, a vector arose and a direction is applied. Perceiving conflict and pain become the limitless waves that bend, contort, and stretch the “A-B” vector. What does this tell us? For the obvious answer, we get a fucked-up line. For the understanding of each penetrated bent and creased fold that deform the clean, horizontal vector: it’s what makes the space surrounding the vector unique and independent.


In my consciousness, the formed spaces created from deformed, extruded vectors are the term: worth. Worth is not a clean, seamless state of consciousness, but rather it’s a challenging and formidable abundance of rugged tales.


So why try for worth? Why live for the endless toil to embrace the achieved worth? You might call me a masochist or a torture lover, but trying for worth is craving my unique sense of independence.

EXCERPT IV

Perfect and Empty


Problem

Conflict

Gone

Never itself happened

Nothing is there

No conflict

No problem

The solutions are solved

The mystery is gone

The puzzle is solved

The problem is gone

And yet

In all its subtleties

Its distain walls

The mess

The dirt

The unpolished surface

Meant and meant fully

No solution was needed

Nothing was there

And in this moment

Even in relief or happiness

No design was consumed

No answer was given

And the heartbreak

That sweet and desirable heartbreak

Was missing

Even when the positives

Create more beautiful positives

A negative arose

Problem

What problem?

Conflict

What conflict?

Its unsettling and itself

Confusing

More bolts than bones

More fabricated self than flesh

More machine than heart

The perfection is poison

And then

Clarity awoke

The chamber broke down its walls

And finally

The words just flew out

The single word spoke:

Masochism

EXCERPT V

Necropolis in Motion


The water slips

It sheds upon the rocks

The void calls for entry

And into the sinking hole

The void continues

The water hits and stears

The body becomes silent


A light appears

Innocent and pure

In no direction

The light becomes stronger

Becomes brighter

Becomes blinding

And then sky

So beautiful and open

So vast and wide

No direction

No path

The possibilities cannot account

The body becomes still


Shifting and revolving

The solids seperate

The whole becomes pieces

The solved puzzle breaks

Everything falls apart

Scattered and lost

And yet direction

The mess has a path

A singular focus

A meaning in fragments

A focus in blurs

A sense in shades

Understood and yet broken

And then the vision

The idea planted

In lost spaces

Eradicated in emotion

The body becomes realized


Death

Of turmoil, lost thought, and broken pieces

Yet in transition from journey

The focus is clear