Presence of Absence

Author: Ishika Arvind Jain
Site Location: Mumbai
Institute: G.S.Mandal’s Marathwada Institute of Technology- Dept. of Architecture
Advisor: Ar. Leena Aphale


Humans are constantly plagued by the thought of their mortality. We avoid addressing it in any form and physically steer away from spaces that signify death. Why do we fear it so intensely when it is a reality, we all have to face? This is what sparked my eagerness to comprehend such places.
The crematorium structures are dilapidated with basic and ill-maintained facilities. As a final year architecture student and my ability to perceive the importance of quality of space, seeing a final physical memory of a close person in such an ill-environment compounded the grief.
Much has been written about how architecture affects people’s emotion. It takes a lot of courage to open our hearts and express to the world how we feel at any given time, especially if the emotions that invade us, are negative. But there are those too, who display emotion through creative expression (sometimes even unconsciously).
Can architecture honour the deceased for a final time? Can it be a place that mitigates fear by facilitating celebration of life over death? Can architecture make it a symbol of life and not just death?


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