Natural Descent Mausoleum
This project is designed for Pierre Menard, author of the Don Quixote translation and reiteration, and it is sited in Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati. My design evolved from a volumetric transformation of the Baj Crypt in Bergamo, Italy. I was drawn to the seemingly symmetrical expansion of each volume, which I carried into my own forms. I was also inspired by the book and the process of returning back to earth. Don Quixote, the titular character, slowly starts to lose his grasp on reality and sinks into a fantasy. This descent into madness parallels the return- descent- back into the earth. So, each cube in the series shrinks down into the center, while contracting, it also becomes less open to the elements. Shielding the core from reality and bringing it closer down to the earth. Then, the exterior fins mimic this return and descent into earth- as well as the ones on the interior, which hold the crypts for extended family on four walls in each flanking cube. The crypts are made of green onyx, the green symbolizing rebirth and restarting the cycle of life. This onyx is also seen as the base of the windows. When it is backlit the stone transforms and becomes almost translucent, but only from the interior. This shift is also mimicked in the recesses on the other walls of the interior crypts, which follow the fins on the exterior, rather as whispers of reality in contrast to the full experience. The exterior fins are burnt cedar, a technique known as Shou Sugi Ban. The wood will also deteriorate with time, slower than traditional wood structures, still, leaving only a shell of their existence.