Project description by jury
Today, many municipalities around the world impose the construction of cemeteries on the cities’ outskirts neglecting, in most cases, how to deal with their integration within the urban fabric once the cities start to encroach beyond their initial limits. Starting from this consideration, the project suggests a change of perspective in the way cemeteries are currently perceived in Amman, reclaiming their construction in the urban area to serve as public spaces for the community at large. The architectural design focuses on a new cemetery typology that distinctly separates burial units and the funeral house, all placed below ground level, and the ‘general’ public area made by a system of plazas and greenery at street level. The new typology enables far more burial spaces to be accommodated, courtyards open to the sky allow sunlight to reach the below-ground level while serving as meeting points required for funerals. The program of the project includes an Al-Tikyeh (hospice), a traditional communal building that dates back to the Ottoman era, to assist poor people and to collect donations from the deceased to support the community. It also incorporates a worship space, a library, a community kitchen and other public communal facilities. The project provides additional green spaces to punctuate the dense residential areas of Amman while offering new occasions for the gathering of people inside the neighborhoods.
The LafargeHolcim Awards jury Middle East Africa was fascinated by this audacious proposal that revolutionizes the way in which cemeteries can be conceived in the Middle East, adding a remarkable social character to this architectural typology. These revisited spaces suggest a new relationship between the living and the dead, which was found to be very poetic. Architecture creates a beautiful atmosphere which is very appropriate for the place. Also this design option alleviates soil consumption by drastically decreasing the footprint of graveyards inside the cemeteries, which was considered a powerful claim.See more
On the urban level, the project suggests a prototype solution inside the city of Amman by focusing on integrating the cemeteries within the urban fabric of the neighborhoods that act as positive spaces and turning the upper layer into a park which will provides a green lung for the dense residential areas as well as public plazas and communal spaces for meeting and gathering inside neighborhoods. On the other hand, the project is reintroducing new typologies for cemeteries that is based on modules which will help in decreasing the footprint of the graveyards inside the cemeteries as each unit contains 32 graves. Taking the chosen site as an example; the project provided 544 graves (in 12,000 sqm) which is five times the current existing situation.
An important issue that was addressed was social sustainability. The project aims to turn the cemeteries into a positive space by adding new elements to it (Al-Tikyeh) based on donating the dead’s belongings to the needy of the neighborhoods to create a sense of social solidarity and will also help in reviving the communal atmosphere inside the neighborhoods. The design focused on redefining the 21st century Tikyeh which will contain: a library (dead people’s books, writings, archive), storage (for the given things and donations), a community kitchen and a multipurpose hall (which will serve in funerals and other neighborhood events). The funeral house is also an added function that mainly serves the dead's families in funerals and allows the neighborhood to show solidarity and sympathy.See more
Cemeteries are often located in city suburbs. As the city grows, the burial grounds become more and more integrated into the city, at which point they occupy space that could be used in other ways. This is the case in Amman, where many cemeteries are in poor condition as well. This project – which the jury describes as a solid proposal that revolutionizes the architectural typology of cemeteries – proposes underground cemeteries. This can free land in densely populated neighborhoods to be used as a park or social space. Courtyards allow daylight to reach the lower level, where funerals are held and the graves are located. The project also includes a hospice, a traditional community building, a devotional space, a library, and a community kitchen.
Winner Tala Shelbayh, student at the German Jordanien University in Amman, says: “Cemeteries should be transformed into positive spaces and help to enhance social solidarity.” She intentionally sought an out-of-the-box solution, and her efforts have been well regarded: “The transition from cemeteries being a place for the dead to them being a place for the living is an important one,” says Marilyne Andersen, “especially because the respect for the dead is maintained.”Read more »
Next Generation 2nd prize winner Living Memorial in Jordan – Cemetery reconfiguration for urban greening by Tala …
Next Generation 2nd prize winner Tala Shelbayh, student, German Jordanian University, Amman, Jordan for Living Memorial …
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