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This collection features fall semester work in Design VII (A Sky-Tram Hybrid) also known as the Necropolis during seventh semester, fourth year at Pratt Institute Undergraduate School of Architecture.


Title: Necropolis

Professor: Dagmar Richter 

Year: 2015

Status: Archived

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 skytram. 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 skytram 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 skytram 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 are 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 skytram 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 fragmentation 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.