Date of Award
Master of Architecture
Scott Wall, Sandra J. Mixer
Death is the lone certainty of animate existence. How and where it occurs remains the only variable. It is the where that serves as the spatial problematic this thesis serves to investigate. For many, death is not an event but a process. It is a process where the space serves as the fi nal sensorial effect on the body. In Western society, one is typically born in a hospital. Does it mean that one should also die there? Is a space appropriate for birth also appropriate for death? Should they not differ greatly? There are typologies that address the conditions of the deceased in a reverent and dignifi ed way. Why does architectural absolve itself from assuming its responsibilities in the death process? Death, both tragic and arresting, is frequently arranged. Where do you go to die? Where do you send someone to die?
It is the contention of this thesis that spaces that specifi cally address the process of dying for patients, families, and caregivers are absent from the architectural landscape. Facilities occupied and operating as ‘nursing homes’ for the terminally ill are dismissive of the somatosensory capabilities of its patients, families, and caregivers. Spaces that incorporate the full compliment of somatosensory events are required to fully accentuate the process of dying. This thesis explores the qualities of space that can serve the conditions of the dying body.
I will present fi rst the argument of the body’s ability to experience space through a multitude of sensory means followed by an analysis of the psychological, ideological, material, and natural components of the cell, home, and place. The vehicle for these explorations will be the design of a palliative care + hospice care facility in the North Atlanta suburb of Buford, Georgia.
Davis, Mitchell Brandon, "Death and the Process: Addressing a Spatial Problematic. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 2009.