Ritual Spaces

Donna Kacmar

Abstract


There is a need within man for ritual and meaning. Ritual and myth translates meaninglessness into meaningful order. It provides an authoritative account of man and the physical, social and spiritual realms of his existence. Even in contemporary urban areas we need places for ritual. Urban dwellers need to be reminded of the ceremony and the physical quality of life, find a place to reconnect to time, to earth, to the heavens, to life. This paper explores the specific ritual of death and the architecture that supports them, the beauty of life and the paradox that man's life is finite yet still part of an infinite continuum.

Death rituals can be both singular and temporal. Burial traditions on the Venice island of San Michele are temporary and typically only involve a ten year stay on the island before being moved to a permanent home on the mainland. Burials in Cuba are also temporary and bodies are reburied after just two years when remains are transferred to a smaller container due to the limited space. These interruptions require a specific landscape and architecture to support the various rituals and ceremonies. The private Brion Tomb and the city cemetery of Stockholm provide two examples of permanent burial landscapes that are linked to their landscape.


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