Mortem Obire, Funerary Chapel


Mortem Obire, Funerary Chapel: Poetics of Silence, Light, Healing, and Truth in Architecture

Mt. Vernon Square, Washington, DC
25,000 sf Funerary Chapel + Columbarium

DESCRIPTION: Mortem Obire—the Latin phrase for “meet death”— is a non-denominational funerary chapel that seeks to address the poetics of emotion, healing, serenity, and existential transcendence. The design uses the metaphor of axis-mundi as a central organizing node that forms a primordial center connecting heaven, earth, and the afterlife. It is experienced through the various processes of mourning, melancholy, healing, and transcendence. The ziggurat ramp envelopes the buildings and allows the patron to circumambulate around the central axis-mundi in a ritual ascent and sacred pilgrimage. This design feature is meant to mirror the moment in our lives when death claims someone we love. The intense emotions that come with such an experience are identified as sacred and respectfully expressed through the architecture. The aim of the project seeks to create an oasis of silence and healing through materiality. Likewise, the architecture evokes contemplation and repose within the bustling, noisy urban context of Mt. Vernon Square in Washington, D.C.



Published in Márgenes Arquitectura magazine (Spain), 2012
Beaux Arts Ball – Reception Exhibit, AIAS, 2012

STUDIO: Advisors: Juhani Pallasmaa, Julio Bermudez, Greg Upwall – The Catholic University of America, Fall 2011
DESIGN TEAM: Brandon Ro, M.ArchS; Michael Steinmetz, M.Arch; Brigid Wright, BS.Arch

CONTRIBUTIONS: Co-designing the project; producing digital model, renderings, diagrams, analog drawings, material & building studies; preparing digital and print presentation materials, boards, etc.

Design Team and Advisors

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