Shizensou (natural funeral) is an ancient practice previous to buddhist rituals in Japan. An environmentally beneficial way of treating the remains of the deceased. It means returning the cremated ashes back to nature, to oceans, to mountains, to rivers and to the sky instead of placed them in a grave.
Shizensou has been traditionally practiced all over the world for centuries. The aerial burials in Tibet and in the Andes in South America, as well as the water burial in India are also considered as shizensou. Our bodies are an inseparable part of the universe. Returning the remains to the nature increases the balance of energy in the universe. When a person dies the body go back to Mother Nature, which is the origin of all life. The deceased scattered in nature will find a peaceful return to their universal home.
Explore beyond the boundaries of verticality and horizontality is also to think about life and death within the cities. Every five minutes somebody dies in Tokyo (110,500/year). Due this, private developers have used temples as covers to build cemetery plots which they can sell for ten times the price of land without taxes. This practice results in the unwanted placement of cemeteries adjacent to homes in the already densely populated neighborhoods (meigi-gashi). Tokyo is being forced to face the issue of burial space.
In the Shinjuku district we propose a hollow tower that explores the relationship between life and death, where people (after funeral services and grieving process) can spread the ashes of their loved ones into a large well, that symbolizes acceptance, healing and sacredness.
The tower is a megalith that contrasts with its surroundings. Its monolithic appearance is result of construction process in successive layers animated by natural or artificial light. So, the ephemeral of our lives and the persistence of time are in constant dialogue… a boundary between the frantic rhythm of the city and the timeless interior space.