Notions of Death

Recently, I have been giving a lot of thought to the topic of my pre-thesis investigation. Up to this point, I have been thinking primarily about impermanence and its connection with natural processes of decay, which I find beautiful. I feel American society has a genuine aversion to notions of human decay or death. While this seems obvious, I think American society has this fear to the nth degree. Could my thesis project be an opportunity to create an architecture that directly deals with American notions of death, while simultaneously addressing the issues of decay through the structures materiality? I have been thinking about this for the past couple weeks and am having trouble making a decision. My thesis research has left me without the traditional keystones most architecture students pre-thesis experiences, like for example, program and site, which at some point I will have to address. Could thinking about America's ingrained fear of death provide me an opportunity to demystify or rethink our paradigms on dying? To cast death in a new light? If so, would it be appropriate to start thinking about a program that would, in one way or another, tackle these notions?

My concern here, is that addressing the decay of materiality and human passing might fundamentally take on a powerful issue that has the potential to outshine the real roots of my thesis. Would a building that deals with human death become to human and therefore less architectural? I keep jumping the fence back and forth trying to decide. Ruminating on this.


Dissecting Suburbia_James Kunstler

Kunstler, while coming off somewhat cynical here, hits our misplaced notions of suburban success on the head. I hope to use the information contained in this talk and address it directly in the design and research associated with my thesis this coming final semester. I agree that our urban environments are going to have to perform at a much more efficient and holistic way than many of our urban cores do today.