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Ob j e ct _

STUDYIN G P R O C E S S A N D M A T E R I A L I T Y Object Pecha Kucha A r c h i t e c t u r a l D e r i v a t i o ns






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Obj e ct _ STUDYING PR O C E S S A N D M A T E R I A L I T Y “Create an object, anything you like, something which emotionally resonates with you and comes without the prejudice of the controlling mind.” This object’s aim was to provoke the senses , to be something that will make us want to smell, feel, touch... use our powers of perception. There were no fixed rules or required methodology behind the creation of the sculpture, an open mind and inquisitive attitude were the only things necessary. I considered the idea that the process of making the object could be integral to its final outcome, the imprint left by the process becoming the sculpture.

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Object State







The process involved p r e p a r i n g the object, then p r e s e r v i n g one side with boiled linseed oil while r e d u c i n g the other side to ash. Finally the two halves of log were r e u n i t e d and fastened together to make a whole.


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Object atat ion ator i um Object | |C r Cerm em ion| |S iStiet e| |C r Cerm em ator i um

Pecha Kucha The object explored the idea of

qualities of wood.

process and its effect on the

It aimed to bring out and emphasise the sensual qualities of the material, the rich tones and grain, the strong scent of charred wood, the beautiful tonal contrast and disorder of the burnt side, the feeling of the textures on the observers hands... The process of making the object is embodied within it, it is the imprint left by the process which provokes the sensual response and creates the emotional dischord within. Sketch: birch trees

Sculptor George Peterson is interested in the chang- Shou Sugi Ban- ancient Japanese wood charring ing qualities of wood through process, the natural preservation technique. tension and drama in the material.

Terunobu Fujimori’s Coal House, using this burnt cladding technique.


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The 20 images of Pecha Kucha


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Photographic Explorations


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Architectural Derivations


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Cr e m at ion _ PROCESS After an in-depth group discussion with studio peers about the potential building types that may emerge from my object studies, a crematorium was derived. The dark sombre tones of the object and the rich textures with charred wood suggested to us somewhere serious which engages with strong emotions. The cremation process involves reducing dead bodies to gases and bone fragments through burning in a furnace. It is growing ever more common as a preferred method to burial, there is no slow decomposition process and the body is diposed of immediately. Some prefer it as it allows the family to say a final goodbye whenever they are ready, they can keep the ashes for as long as they want before scattering them in a place important to them.


Visit to Mortonhall Crematorium KEY NOTES - Circulation should allow entry and exit through different places to allow flow through. - Waiting spaces for families before service. - Remembrance chapel and garden to bury urns/ashes. - Uxed by different religions. - Plenty of space needed. - Four furnaces, clad innternally in heat resistant brick.

There is a memorial garden and walkway in the crematorium grounds, which people visit independently like a graveyard.

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Process _

the cremation.

The cremation process begins with the preparing of the body, removing parts which could not go into the furnace. Prosthetic limbs, metal pins, gold teeth and jewellery would be such items. The body would then be preserved in a freezer, so as not to decompose before the service. This could be for hours, days or weeks. When the service day arrives the body would be taken into the chapel, and then moved through into the furnace room to be cremated. It would be reduced to ashes and bone particles over an hour or two. The bone particles are then broken down by a machine with a drum filled with metal balls, and the ashes are stored in an urn. The ashes and families are reunited when they return later to collect them. When the family is ready they will usually cast away the ashes, the final departing .

Cremation is very common in other cultures and religions, although is approached in a different way. For Hindus cremation is an extremely important process. It does much more than dispose of the body; it is intended to release the soul from its earthly existence. It is believed to be the most beneficial for the departed soul. There is a large

emphasis on the funeral pyre itself, it

is usually outdoors for everyone to see and is almost monumental. The chief mourner circumambulates anticlockwise around the pyre before pushing it in himself. In modern crematoria this is arrangement is not permitted and the pyre cannot be outdoors. However the sense of the

pyre being a focal point

and monumental in status is an interesting idea, rather than hidden away like in many crematoria today.


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PROCESS _ cremation

P r e p a r a t i o n _ removing metals and

P r e s e r v a t i o n _ storing body in a freezer.

Preparation _

Preservation _

precious items from body.

PROCESS _ object


A diagram of process_ 18

cutting, sanding,



coating with linseed


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R e d uction _

the cremation.

R e d uction _ scorching wood with blowtorch.


Reunion _

ashes returned to family.

Departing _

after some time familites scatter

Reunion _

rejoining of two sides.

Departing _

weathering and breaking over


the ashes.


Departing 19

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Sit e _ HARBOURIN G P R O C E S S The Sea Edinburgh is a city by the sea, bordered along the north and north-weat by the mouth of the Forth River. The sea has an atmosphere like no other. It interacts with the senses; the sound of the rippling water or crashing waves; the smell of the sea air and seaweed; the feel of the cold wind on your skin, the feeling of soft sand beneath your feet... It has a way of calming the mind, relaxing thoughts, bringing people away from their worries to the moment they are living in. It arouses memories, feelings and experiences you once had. It is a landscape of emotion , and an ideal location for a place people go to say goodbye to those they have lost.


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Seafield Promenade

Bus Depot


Seafield Roundabout Location plan 1:2500


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Coast line of Edinburgh 1:25000 Harbours are a key part of the city’s coastal landscape. For hundreds of years the harbour at Leith Docks has been a place for shipbuilding and repair, and today they act as

from the sea.

protection The harbour wall wraps

around and provides a walkway along which people can stroll and look out to sea.


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Leith Docks

Dover Harbour

The harbour wall is usually formed with straight lines which curve smoothly into a different angle. This provides protection from the sea in all directions. There is always a gap to allow boats in and out.


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Tide The sea leaves behind memories. It washes objects and weathers them, slowly disintegrates them over time into grains of sand.

It leaves imprints on the beach of its last arrival, which it then is reunited with at the next high tide. Low tide 250m High Tide 12m The beach undergoes a

constant process of weathering by the sea.

M e m o r i e s o f t h e t ide


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Cr e m ator i um _ EMBODYING P R O C E S S A crematorium is a place that leaves a strong imprint on the memory. It is a building which brings people together to celebrate and mourn the death of a loved one, a place to say goodbye and reflect on their life. It is a place filled with strong emotions.

The architecture itself can stir emotion and memories. Provoking the senses through materiality and engagement with the natural surroundings can help to create architecture which has a denser atmosphere, a richer experience, and a greater emotional impact. The architecture created can also symbolically represent its function. The diagram of process derived from cremation can begin to form architectural concepts, like parameters around which the architecture begins to form . This creates a building which has arisen from the process itself,

an embodiment of the cremation it harbours . Preparation






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Sketches: exploring ideas


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Diagram of Process Preparation


preparation n

preserve v

reduction n

Spatial preparation through materiality

Preserved spaces:

Reduced spaces:

- Enclosed

- Exposed

- Warm with rich oiled wood, quiet and well sound insulated.

- Cold with dark charred wood, open to the sounds of the sea and nature.

1. the act or process of preparing 2. the state of being prepared; readiness ... 6. (music, other) the anticipation of a dissonance so that the note producing it in one chord is first heard in the preceding chord as a consonance

Architectural Concepts

- Materiality to form links between spaces; crossing spatial boundaries with materiality, eg. oiled wood of one space flowing into the charred wood of another.

1. to maintain in safety from harm, protect. 2. to keep in perfect or unaltered condition ... an occurence of improvement by virtue of preventing other change.

- No harsh conditions. - Feeling of security and comfort.



1. the act or process or an instance of reducing 2. the state or condition of being reduced 5. a simplified form

- Exposed to the elements. - No feeling of security.

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Architectural Concepts


re·un·ion n


1. the act or process of coming together again 2. the state or condition of having been brought together again

1. To go away; leave.

Tidal reunion


- The sea and the building being reunited at High Tide.

- The weathering of the building and its materiality over time.

- The sea actually crossing the boundaries of the building and entering the inside spaces.

- The sea slowly eroding the wood and staining the concrete.

v. de·part·ed, de·part·ing, de·parts

- Leaving imprints of memory as the initial qualities of materials fade away.

The combined processes of making the object and cremation therefore creates a diagram upon which the architecture is based . This does not change the processes within the building, but influences the physical and emotional experiences throughout it for those who use the crematorium.


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1 Main Chapel 2 Small Chapel 3 Urn Room 4 Cafeteria 5 Memorial Chapel/ platform 6 Reception 7 Staff Room 8 Staff Working Area 9 Preparation Room/ Ash Room 10 Furnace Room 11 External Garden


1:2000 Location Plan

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1 10

3 5





7 6










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A Section AA 1:200



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Sea enters building through central passage

Platform for casting ashes out to sea


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B Section BB 1:200 B 34

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Concrete base and foundations. Timber chapel above.

The Sea fills up around chapels behind sea wall, washing around them like pebbles or boats.


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Section CC 1:200



Recessed seating area with window below high tide level .

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Preservation and Reduction

Garden, walkway to chapel, end of sea wall.

Circulation space.

Memorial chapel.

Outside, exposed to elements.

Inside. Charred wood and glass enclosure.

Inside. Oiled wood and glass enclosure.




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Chapels and Urn Room.

Inside. Oiled and charred wood, concrete and glass enclosure.

Inside. Oiled wood, secure enclosure.

Preserved Inside. Oiled wood.


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Engaging with the tide The tide flows into the building through the central passage and holes in the sea wall. The building becomes like of a collection of solids in the sea held together by the wall, like driftwood, pebbles, or boats.


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Fife River upstream

Beach River opening to the sea

Sea Views

Beach 41

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Perspective from previous design;

Showing the way the memorial garden fades into the sea. This is the same on the right but behind a protective sea wall.


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Sea Wall Urn Room (collection) Programme

Memorial Chapel




Basic Circulation Loop Allows continuous flow through the building so that mouners don’t meet a different family on the way out.



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F u r n a c e Room

Furnace R o o m Chapels


Preparation Room/ Cold Store

Coffin Circulation

Crematorium Spaces are close to each other to allow ease of access and let the process run smoothly.

Office Space/ Cremation Control Perparation Room/ Cold Store/ Ash reduction Room Entry

Staff Room/ Reception

Staff Circulation


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Memorial Chapel (Unaltered)


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Chapel Spaces



The relationship between the external and internal sides of the objects created an interesting boundary condition , an inspiration for the lighting within the chapels.


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Harbour Wall The sea wall wraps around the building as if holding the volumes inside, seeming to tie them together.

It forms the circulation for the mouners after the service, and opens to them sea views, spaces to sit and contemplate, and a peaceful walk after the intense experience of the crematorium. It forms a boundary which is crossed by circulation and projecting spaces, and the tide which ebbs and flows beneath its inhabitable walkway.


Movement back to the reduced The walkway takes people from inside to outside along its length, moving from inward focussed darker space to outward looking light-filled spaces, and finally taking people back out to the promenade. It prepares the users for the moment of re entering the rreal world, like a passage of peace and nature

between life and death.


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Perspective Section 1:100


Process and Emotion  

3rd year architecture portfolio- designing a crematorium

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