A Vertical Cemetery for Cities Running Out of Room for Their Dead
Finding a place to die can be as expensive as finding a place to live. As the world’s population grows, the available graveyard space is shrinking. Arlington National Cemetery is running out of room to bury U.S. service members, while Manhattan only has one active cemetery—and as of last summer, the only available pair of burial plots on sale there were priced at $350,000 each.
Just like cities grow taller to accommodate more people, cemeteries may need to get vertical, too. A new design concept by Fredrik Thornström and Karolina Pajnowska, master’s students at the Lund University School of Architecture in Sweden, shows what that might look like: a vertical columbarium (a place to store urns) built into a cluster of silos.
The design includes an in-house crematorium as well as places to display all the urns. Within empty silos that include waterfalls, the urns would be placed on individual shelves that spiral up the walls. Each individual urn shelf would be accessible through the back side of the display via a walkway that leads up the silo.
Thornström and Pajnowska are not the first designers to come up with an idea for a skyscraper cemetery, but their concept would be relatively easy to implement using out-of-use silo infrastructure.
All images by Fredrik Thornström and Karolina Pajnowska.