WHITBY AFTERLIFE CHAMBER
Whitby Afterlife Chamber holds funeral ceremonies where souls of the deceased depart their bodies to the afterlife dimension. The crematory service is a sorting process of the souls either heading to heaven above or Dracula’s ruins of pain and darkness within Whitby Abbey. Families and Friends meditate, witness the soul separating cremation and confess their sins within their journey inside the building. The architecture acts as an amplifying instrument for the town of Whitby with each funeral transposing the souls and commemorating the late citizens.
Initial Development starts by exploring site elements and stories for narrative developent of the scheme. Photo collages and models are made for finding relatioships and characteristics between different site elements. The following shows the site exploration processes of Whitby Afterlife Chamber. The photo collage explores the relationship between Whitby Abbey and St. Mary’s Church Graveyard. The idea of death and dimension shifting of afterlife is developed and the drawing explores the possibilities that the piece of architecture connects the deceased and their families and friends by interacting with site elements including the cliff, sea waves and wind movements.
Site Elements and Narrative
The idea of death and dimension shifting of afterlife brings people from different time scale together within the transition place. People witness deceased souls being shifted to different dimensions where the competition between Whitby Abbey and St Mary’s Church of Whitby occurs. Whitby Abbey links to Dracula’s underground ruins of darkness and pain while St. Mary’s Church relates to the perfect heavenly dimension above. People from different historic periods converge and meet at these two dimensions. The architecture is set as a sorting device of soul dimension transposing.
Heavenly above is one of the two dimensions deceased go towards during the funeral service enetering afterlife. It is not easy to reach the above as there are plenty of wrong routes of temptations and obstacles. But aspirations and hope should be kept so to long for the reunion of families and friends living happily above in heaven. Reflect on ourselves, confess ourselves to the deceased souls and keep away from sins.
Another dimension is towards Dracula’s ruins of darkness and pain. Sinful souls are dragged away by Dracula through the underground tunnels during the cremation process of the funeral service. Families and friends of deceased souls witness and feel sorry when the souls are being dragged to the ruins underneath. They again reflects on themselves and prevent from being sinful.
The general public arrives the architecture at an entrance void/tower. They prepare themselves for the funeral service ahead in the waiting room of silence. They then pass through soul cleansing waterway to enter the main funeral hall space. Families and Friends walk around confession circle to have final words towards the deceased that is risen on the casket table. During the Funeral service, visitors sit or kneel at the auditorium space witnessing the soul transposing process of the deceased. Pitch and movement of chimes reveal the sorting result either towards the above or to Dracula’s underworld of darkness and pain in Whitby Abbey. Families and Friends go through the upper circle for ash collection from the chamber tower after the service. Visitors visit contemplation tower at last for transition back to the real world.
Caskets in Whitby Afterlife Chamber
Caskets containing deceased bodies arrive from the other end of Whitby Afterlife Chamber. They are risen up with soul cleansing ramp and casket conveyor platform to have final purification through soul cleansing waterway before the funeral service. The rail turns the deceased from the entrance axis to the axis towards Whitby Abbey facing the Cremation Chamber. The deceased stopped at the casket table allowing families and friends to have final words and confess. Chimes move with the power of confession whisper that is going on. Soul transposing process starts once the deceased enters Cremation Chamber Tower.
Cremation Chamber as Sun Dial
Cremation Chamber Tower’s roof has a cut in the middle which acts as a sun dial. Sunlight enters the tower interior at different angles which fit the markings on the tower at different time of the year. Death of human being is a timely event and the movement of the sun symbolise the movement of time. This reminds visitors to cherish life during the funeral service commemorating late citizens of Whitby.