Project 13x30 - Sky Mausoleum

Year: 2017

Project Architect: Timothy Ung

Project Brief:

Every day, our world population increases by more than double the number of deaths and every generation lives a longer life than the previous one. In fact, there’s an approximate ratio of 19 births to 8 deaths for every population of 1,000 people. If we follow the lifestyle trend of the younger generations, a majority of the population is migrating to major cities such as Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, and so on.

With a constantly growing population within an already dense urban environment, the price of living per square foot is skyrocketing to unbelievable numbers. As people attain enough wealth to purchase condominiums or cooperative living units, they search for units that offer the best square footage, interior layout, windows, and views. In fact, those who are wealthy enough to purchase any unit in these cities tend to purchase large units or ones that are higher in the sky.

In these hyper dense urban environments where everyone is fighting to get the best living unit with the greatest views, where do the remains of these people go after death?

Traditionally, a majority of the world’s population are buried in the ground of a cemetery adjacent to their loved ones, placed above ground in a mausoleum, cremated and stored in a mausoleum or religious structure, or cremated and stored at home. These sacred places for storing and visiting the remains of loved ones typically grow horizontally until there’s no more space.

However, if we look at burial grounds of the powerful and wealthy rulers of old cities such as the Taj Mahal and any Egyptian ruler, the remains of the rulers and their loved ones are stored in one of a kind and massive structures.

Project Site

Using New York City as the basis for designing a prototypical cemetery in a hyper dense urban environment, there’s clearly a lack of open land large enough to bury the slightest portion of people living in the city. Clearly, the only way to have a building large enough to hold the remains of a portion of NYC’s population is to go vertically and build a skyscraper. The project site will be at 517 West 35th Street, New York City.

Project Design

Sky Mausoleum’s form and aesthetic is derived from the existing buildings in the neighborhood where its form is an extruded box with repetitive structural and aesthetic elements. Aesthetically, the cornices and column enclosures are proud of the surface containing windows. This creates depth through the shadows that move across the façade throughout the day.

On the ground floor, there are 3 large tenant spaces that will contain public programs that relate to the mausoleum. A flower shop will be located in the tenant space between the primary and secondary entrance of the Sky Mausoleum. The Sky Mausoleum will contain chapels at the north side of the building.

The second floor of the Sky Mausoleum has private mausoleums against the exterior facades as well as two access points to the outdoor terrace. Every mausoleum has at least two stained glass windows, curved walls, built in seating, and a stone container capable of holding the remains of 12 people. Outside, the terrace spaces are full of planters holding colorful shrubs and flowers with built in seating. This space is open to all visitors. All of the floors above are dedicated to private mausoleums.


Learn more about the design process of this project by clicking any of the images below.