Site overview The site is located on a high land edge next to the Dahan River of Taoyuan, so it has a great view to neighboring landscapes. There were already five tomb areas and one existing columbarium building in this cemetery. Design goals Funeral facilities in Asia traditionally belong to the “yin” house, which often gives people a gloomy and negative impression. But further objective thinking recognizes that death is also a part of the life cycle, and everyone will encounter it. How to design a columbarium tower that can help one learn to accept life’s stop and positively handle the loss of beloved are two important issues. Therefore, to break the negative impressions of the columbarium tower, using spatial languages that convey positive energy and messages will be a key to the design. Configuration ideas The project needs to retain the existing archway, parking plaza, and a three-story traditional columbarium building. Therefore, the existing central axis of cemetery park is preserved. The parking plaza is first reorganized and planned with the main entrance at one end of the central axis. Considering the massing of the project, although it has seven floors and is much taller than the existing building, on a spatial level, it should play as the background rather than a show off. In the future, when the existing columbarium building gets demolished after its expiration date, the same façade should still satisfy the visual requirements. This configuration layout must be able to adapt to changes in time and space. Volume concept The site is surrounded by cemetery fields, a parking lot, and the Dahan River Valley. The massing of the building adopts a geometric oval-shaped structure that adapts to the open terrain of the site and allows views to the landscape. The dual characteristics of regular rationality and the surface sensibility of oval geometry are used as the basis for the design concept. Since the building site is only a few steps away from the tomb area, a lotus-shaped landscape pool is planned around the ground floor buildings as a partition. It also became a silent dialogue among sky, land, death and people Design techniques This project adopts a minimalistic approach and avoids unnecessary decoration in order to play the role of the background on the visual axis. On the facade, there are only floor-to-ceiling windows, tiled balconies, and inclined aluminum grilles as the second-layer exterior wall system. The elements of modern architecture are combined with the visual changes of the oval volume to form a simple and minimal background, which sets behind the existing columbarium building. The detail of the façade has been carefully thought out. The oblique grille, which is the outer layer of the double skin façade, overlaps every three meters. Through overlapping the aluminum grille, it naturally forms a wood-like structure on the oval perimeter. The texture of the joints, coupled with the light brown paint, presents a warm and rustic feeling, and also forms a uniform shading system. The balconies that appear once on every two floors are also planting shrubs for vertical greening. While the floor-to-ceiling windows on the inner layer of the double-layer exterior wall use a dense horizontal grille on the outside of the glass to reduce direct light, the upper half of the smoke exhaust window can also be used as a natural ventilation window at ordinary times to achieve the effect of saving energy and promoting indoor air convection. As a metaphorical symbol of the Life Memorial Hall, the west main entrance has a double-circle shape that mimics a mathematical symbol of infinity sign" ∞ ", which symbolizes eternal remembrance that transcends the concept of time. The circle has the same homophonic sound as "predestined" in Mandarin. Two circles overlapping is a metaphor of the interdependence of all beings due to karma (circle), and that life is eternal with remembrance and memories. Energy-saving and sustainable The semi-outdoor space on the ground floor extents to the surrounding landscape and forms the front entrance and the rear resting platform. Combined with the lotus-shaped mirror pool surrounded, it changes the microclimate environment and cools the outside air and reduces dust. There is an atrium connects the basement up to the roof skylight at the center of the building. With the ventilation louvers, the void works as a passive heat chimney, which helps to maintain a comfortable temperature and circulate air without air conditioning. On the four inner facades of the atrium, two-story tall circular holes that symbolize completeness are designed to enhance the floating sense of internal space. The inner walls are coated with an imitation fair-faced concrete, allowing light and shadow to move on it with time. Through this atrium space, the interior space introduces natural daylighting and ventilation, thus optimizing the inner spatial quality of this columbarium tower. The double-layered façade helps to create varying light and shadow qualities. The grating on the inner layer can block and diffuse direct sunlight to create the desired soft illumination and lighting up the building not only removes the gloomy impression but also decreases the need to use artificial lighting during the day, thus achieving the purpose of energy saving and carbon reduction. Epilogue The project starts from exploring the essence of life and the metaphor of building, and has integrated design on all levels. Including the building appearance, component details, worship hall, atrium skylight, indoor dry landscape, ossuary cabinet panels, and more. Other than providing diversified funeral service facilities, the building hopes to become stimulative to visitors so that they can rethinking about respecting and cherishing life while recollecting memories of ancestors.
J.A. Chen Architects & Associates integration of Eastern and Western culture and building technology. Always keeping "Innovation ‧ Efficiency ‧ Professional ‧ Service“ as our working philosophy . Combined with domestic and foreign experts in various fields of technical consultants. Always take the challenge from variety complex building types and client s’ demand to provide the best design solutions and sustainable services.
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