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  1. ArchDaily
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  3. Sacred Landscapes or "Taboo Spaces" in Indian Crematoriums

Sacred Landscapes or "Taboo Spaces" in Indian Crematoriums

Sacred Landscapes or "Taboo Spaces" in Indian Crematoriums
Sacred Landscapes or "Taboo Spaces" in Indian Crematoriums , The Hall of Remembrance. Image Courtesy of Sanchit Arora of RENESA ARCHITECTURE DESIGN INTERIORS STUDIO
The Hall of Remembrance. Image Courtesy of Sanchit Arora of RENESA ARCHITECTURE DESIGN INTERIORS STUDIO

The relationship that humans have with death is complex and ever-changing, this is inevitably reflected in the architecture of spaces related to death. To interrogate the contemporary role of these spaces, architect Sanchit Arora of Indian firm Renesa Architecture Design Interiors used his thesis work, "The Shadow Spaces; Invisible Sacred Landscapes of Indian Cities" to analyze the place of crematoriums within Indian society. 

After a qualitative analysis, Arora has proposed an extension to the Green Park Crematorium in South Delhi. With this project, he aims to provide an example of an architecture which marries poetry and functionality to create spaces which are respectful, experiential, and user-friendly.

The Electric Crematorium. Image Courtesy of Sanchit Arora of RENESA ARCHITECTURE DESIGN INTERIORS STUDIO The Funeral Space. Image Courtesy of Sanchit Arora of RENESA ARCHITECTURE DESIGN INTERIORS STUDIO Gathering Space. Image Courtesy of Sanchit Arora of RENESA ARCHITECTURE DESIGN INTERIORS STUDIO Aerial plan. Image Courtesy of Sanchit Arora of RENESA ARCHITECTURE DESIGN INTERIORS STUDIO + 23

Arora speculates that the decline of ritualistic practices associated with death has seen crematoriums lose their "sanctity." Whilst the spaces are frequented daily by a number of visitors, the lack of maintenance and consideration for the user has resulted in perfunctory architecture which is "without any sensitivity and respect".  

Within Delhi, zoning defines the use of the 50-55 crematoriums in operation. Their proximity to nallahs (the streams that run through the city) reflects the Hindu ritual to have a water body at the site, whereas the green areas that often lie adjacent become buffers, isolating the sites from their context.

Crematorium location plan. Image Courtesy of Sanchit Arora of RENESA ARCHITECTURE DESIGN INTERIORS STUDIO
Crematorium location plan. Image Courtesy of Sanchit Arora of RENESA ARCHITECTURE DESIGN INTERIORS STUDIO
Bird's eye view of the site. Image Courtesy of Sanchit Arora of RENESA ARCHITECTURE DESIGN INTERIORS STUDIO
Bird's eye view of the site. Image Courtesy of Sanchit Arora of RENESA ARCHITECTURE DESIGN INTERIORS STUDIO

Arora situated his intervention at the Green Park Crematorium as of the four he investigated in depth, it was the most underutilized. By understanding the spatial periphery of the site, Arora was able to determine a series of macro and micro scales which would better integrate the isolated site into the cityscape. 

The Electric Crematorium. Image Courtesy of Sanchit Arora of RENESA ARCHITECTURE DESIGN INTERIORS STUDIO
The Electric Crematorium. Image Courtesy of Sanchit Arora of RENESA ARCHITECTURE DESIGN INTERIORS STUDIO

The new program is distributed in a way that establishes a series of linkages between the existing and new architecture. The flow and transparency of these spaces was of vital importance, to ensure that an "invisible landscape" was in place to guide mourners in the most sensitive way possible. 

A series of rough sketches depicting the physical manifestation of the emotions ,narrations and sanctity of the space. Image Courtesy of Sanchit Arora of RENESA ARCHITECTURE DESIGN INTERIORS STUDIO
A series of rough sketches depicting the physical manifestation of the emotions ,narrations and sanctity of the space. Image Courtesy of Sanchit Arora of RENESA ARCHITECTURE DESIGN INTERIORS STUDIO

According to Arora, ‘The Shadow Spaces’ observes and remedies issues related to all stated inadequacies, taking instead a holistic approach that considers physical, metaphysical, emotional, and spiritual notions.

The Funeral Space. Image Courtesy of Sanchit Arora of RENESA ARCHITECTURE DESIGN INTERIORS STUDIO
The Funeral Space. Image Courtesy of Sanchit Arora of RENESA ARCHITECTURE DESIGN INTERIORS STUDIO

The Shadow Spaces has been designed as a conceptual intervention, with the intention of submitting some of the plans to the Indian Government. 

News via RENESA ARCHITECTURE DESIGN INTERIORS STUDIO.

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: Lauren Crockett. "Sacred Landscapes or "Taboo Spaces" in Indian Crematoriums " 20 Aug 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/793545/arora-sanchit-speculates-on-the-role-of-crematoriums-in-india/> ISSN 0719-8884
The Hall of Remembrance. Image Courtesy of Sanchit Arora of RENESA ARCHITECTURE DESIGN INTERIORS STUDIO

印度火葬场的神圣风景或“禁忌空间”