Commonalities between all cultures are rites of passage such as birth, adulthood, marriage, and death. Death is one rite that exudes with culture specific meaning represented in color, symbology, and ritual. The graveside ceremony in America, however, has become an unrefined, mechanically orchestrated ritual stripped of cultural significance. Often, the ritual site unconsciously emphasizes physical discomfort or limitations due to climate, elderly or disabled attendees, and site inaccessibility because of the terrain. Last rites are also debased with the use of metal folding chairs and a temporary tent. Ceremonial space and equipment should convey a cultural connection, dignity, and permanence instead of blandness, disregard, and temporality.
To understand how other cultures experience death and interpret cultural symbolisms into their death ritual, students will research a selected culture’s death ritual and apply it to the creation of a culturally inspired, permanent, and accessible pavilion.