Crematorium and Columbarium:
Ritual of Remembrance

Mike Williams

Chere LeClair

Arch 558

Spring 2011


For me it was important to understand a site’s climate, solar aspects, demographics, fauna and flora, topography, and so on. However, I also find it enlightening to unlock the underlying geometric essence of a place through raw sketches, site interventions, photography and photo-manipulation, and other “artistic” methods. While I am forming these studies I try not to over think their significance, rather, I keep my mind blank while loosely considering the topic of the project (the living and the dead) as well as my driving concepts. I make abstractions of these site relics and keep abstraction until they are transformed to my satisfaction.

I further develop the abstractions into light study models and then insert these next abstract conceptual devices into the site-driven contour models with the aim of stepping toward more tangible architectural moves. These will guide me through the actual architectural designing process; program, schematics, plans sections and so forth. The following pages shoe a progression from the raw essences into a more formal spiritual and geometric typology, but NOT true architecture…yet. Again, the conceptual exploration phase for me is a way to reveal and celebrate the site, the topic, class readings and discussions, and visions for what is to follow – what I hope is inspired space and inspiring architecture.


To ultimately create a space of solace, procession and memoialization; A progression from light and lightness to weight and darkness, but not trivial lightness or oppressive darkness. Instead I envision this: lightness for the many, gathered living to grieve and celebrate the honored dead as they see fit (funeral); and the few/occasional living to visit their entombed loved ones in a deep, solemn darkness punctuated by hopeful and healing light (memorial).