Sites to mourn the departed play a significant role in grieving. Across centuries man has excavated graves, set headstones, maintained memorials, and fashioned countless funerary uns, all in an attempt to rightfully commemorate the dead. These are artefacts, large or small all act as triggers to many of the rituals associated with death and grieving. Initially they provide places where mourners can pay their respects, later becoming spaces that are symbolic of the ties between the living and those who have passed away.
The concept of Memorial Hubs questions the constraint of having one singular place to grieve someone close. As an alternative to the existing system, together they create a network of memorial centres providing families and communities places they can honour, remember and celebrate the dead together no matter where they are geographically.
Memorial Hubs are a response to two specific challenges that funeral services will need to undertake in upcoming decades; urbanisation and increased rates of global migration.
Unlike conventional burial sites Memorial Hubs do not contain remains. Found below all major regional centres, each hub provides a memorial service that is personalised through the usage of remembrance crystals.
Remembrance crystals act as keys to the memorial Hubs experience. Infused with the deceased ashes and encoded with data relating to their life they are what facilitates a tailored experience for the griever. Making use of 5-D laser data encoding techniques they are an incredibly robust and compact method of storing large amounts of information. With community collaboration and curation the remembrance crystals could easily contain things such as: family albums, personal photographs, favourite albums/playlists, videos, emails, quotes, letters etc...
Globally one person out of every 35 is a migrant. This steadily increasing ratio raises concerns surrounding the fixed location associated with conventional burial, and the direction in which funeral services will need to evolve in order to accommodate for families and communities to grieve world-wide.
Memorial Hubs are able to be booked by individuals, families and communities across time-zones, synchronising seamlessly to create collective and inclusive memorial experiences. Also able to be accessed by a person independently, Memorial Hubs are able to provide a time and a place for personal bereavement.
The experience is initiated through the use of remembrance crystals. Seen as a hybrid digital-physical heirloom,these crystals ensure that an individual can access many of the digitally curated or subsequently digitised memories from the life of their loved one. Containing a portion of the deceased ashes the crystals symbolise the relationship between the bearer and the deceased, as well as providing a more tangible presence. The Memorial Hub, being a place for solitude and reflection simply provides a somber space for mourners to openly interact with the past, celebrating the lives of those who have passed away.
Reclaimed from dormant spaces beneath cities, Memorial Hubs can fully take advantage of Geothermal energy (GSHP) for basic HVAC and offset power costs. The spaciously excavated caves with high ceilings contain multiple geodesic chambers that mourners can book in advance. To direct them to their selected chamber, Memorial Hubs employ way-finding in the form of digital signage, coloured LED lights and companion device app. Structurally the geodesic chambers are made from a combination of reconstituted local stone sheeting and metal supports. Insulation overall is provided through use of non-woven, and fully renewable sheep's wool mats. Flooring is specified as bamboo where within the chambers. Acoustics are dampened through the use of 3D woven woollen acoustic fabric. Lighting throughout the Hub is used to provide an ambient feeling allowing for reflection and calm. Hued LED lighting provide warmth into the underground terrain, and can be synchronised to reflect personal preferences within the chambers. Projections are thrown directly onto the chamber walls providing a mix of natural and digital. A central plinth encases the crystal reader, accompanying tablet software allows mourners to interact with each other, and the captured memories of the deceased.