This paper presented a new critical reading of the crematorium, rendered ‘invisible’ by the taboo surrounding death and provided the first opportunity to disseminate this research to an international audience. It focussed on the ways in which architects responded to the challenges of modern secularism and relativism.
The paper developed issues identified by the research for Death Redesigned (Grainger 2007), in particular it explored the social, political, economic determinants that hindered the development of an identifiable architectural canon and investigated the reasons why the architectural pluralism that followed attracted so much early criticism from architects, architectural commentators, clergy and members of the public alike.
It discussed the challenges that this building type presented arising from a lack of a common understanding of what is required by a building at once functional and symbolic, secular and religious. The crematorium has to provide a stage for the ritual of all denominations and none. For many people cremation is a religious act. For those individuals, the principle determining the arrangement of a building used in any religious service needs to be the physical expression of a religious rite, whether this be for example Christian or Hindu. The building must therefore embody its ritualistic purpose in a coherent and recognisable architectural form.
For those who do not belong to the dominant religious groups, their spiritual and emotional needs must also be provided for in a meaningful way. But, a crematorium as a religious space, deriving directly from liturgical imperatives – the accepted norm in ecclesiastical architecture – is problematic because there is no liturgy for cremation in Europe – no agreed order of service. The result has been the lack of a conceptual basis for these buildings, and this paper examined the variety of stylistic options that architects adopted in order to address the dilemma.
|Type of Research:||Conference, Symposium or Workshop Item (Paper)|
|Additional Information (Publicly available):|
Hilary Grainger's research interests include late nineteenth and early twentieth century architecture and design, the late Victorian architect Sir Ernest George, and the architecture and design of British crematoria.
|Publisher/Broadcaster/Company:||Spire Books Ltd|
|Your affiliations with UAL:||Colleges > London College of Fashion|
|Event Location:||Delft University of Technology, Netherlands|
|Deposited By:||INVALID USER|
|Deposited On:||07 Dec 2009 12:16|
|Last Modified:||22 May 2013 11:55|