Sylvan Constellation proposes an ecologically beneficial infrastructure for human disposition that enhances public space while re-shaping societal understandings of our body’s connection to the earth and culture’s relationship to death. DeathLAB and LATENT Productions entered a design competition in the winter of 2015 to propose a modern cemetery scheme for the historic Arnos Vale Cemetery, occupying one of last remaining un-used areas of the grounds with an eye towards modern forms of remembrance and mortuary practice.
A network of memorial vessels aggregates over time in the Old Orchard of Arnos Vale creating a cyclical framework of vitality and remembrance, illuminating new woodland pathways and sanctuary space within the historic cemetery.
Embedded in the forest floor or supported by a network of slender steel pylons, this multilevel
memorial rises from the earthen territory of traditional burial into the blooming woodland canopy
above. The 150 Anaerobic Memorial Vessels laced through the Old Orchard will more than double the Orchard’s capacity within six years. Accepting and honoring new lives in cyclical perpetuity, Sylvan Constellation will continue to generate long-term revenue for the cemetery while ultimately preserving more woodland vegetation than earthen burial plots.
In February 2016, Sylvan Constellation was announced as the winner of the Arnos Vale competition. DeathLAB research staff spent July 2016 in Bristol, collaborating with our local partners to catalyze improved urban futures, and ecologically and spiritually sensitive urban public and funerary spaces.
DeathLAB is lead by Karla Rothstein; Sylvan Constellation was produced in collaboration with Brendan Vogt. For more information, visit Columbia University DeathLAB online.