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Our proposal considers several priorities that we believe to be cornerstones of the mission statement. First, we believe that this is to be a space of contemplation where questions of life and death beyond religious affiliation can be considered within the solemnity of mourning. Second, we recognize that the site is within a pastoral landscape and urban framework which contains significant monuments –both public and private– and that a scheme needs to operate within this contextual framework. Third, our proposal addresses the program not only in specific ways, but also in ways that are inventive, transformative and reflective of the architectural ambitions of this competition. Finally, we recognize that the centenary chapel will both commemorate an event and celebrate the lives of those individuals who gave themselves to the 1916 rising.  The chapel should recognize the culture within which they lived, the larger trajectory of history, and the modern reality of this new building.

Our proposal acknowledges that modern funerary rituals are designed as much around vehicles as the people that occupy them. We have therefore planned the parking south of the chapel in its own court, with a defining wall that is an extension of the chapel proper. This achieves three things. First, it gives form to the parking as a courtyard that is befitting to the ceremony of arrival. Second, it protects the 1916 monument from the immediacy of parked cars. Thirdly, it creates a plaza: a drop-off for the hearse, a reception for a grieving public, and an outdoor contemplation point that looks over the 1916 monument.

One of the most salient aspects of this cemetery is the vast sea of tablets that help to construct the view. For this reason, we have designed a promenade that circumnavigates the site to the eastern edge for the drop-off in the plaza, as a means to set up a procession towards the west, where the ultimate prospect is constructed. Thus, the plaza, the entry chamber, and the main chapel form a sequence of spaces, from east to west culminating in the framed view of the cemetery towards the horizon. 

As a setting for funerary rights, this view of the cemetary is screened off with reticulated glazing during the ceremony only to be lowered after it is completed and the coffin recessed down into the catafalque. This ensures the kind of closure befitting of the ceremony, while also offering a symbolic allegory to the passage of death. As the screen descends, the view of tombstones is revealed as a sublime landscape, while at the same time, the body descends into the floor below, where it is prepared for cremation. Thus, the service spaces of the chapel are recessed below the main floor and form part of its foundations.

Client: Glasnevin Trust

Principals: Nader Tehrani, Katherine Faulkner

Project Team: Amin Tadj, Wesley Hiatt, John Houser, Jonathan Palazzalo

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