Dockweiler Cemetery

What is the interpretation of death in a city so enamored with life? Are the traditional methods of burial, funerary rites and ceremonies valid in such situations? Can we begin to design in our built environment for a new relationship with our dead? This project investigates a different way to view our relationship between architecture and death.

City of Los Angeles has had a long history of displacing cemeteries and burial plots during its decades of development. Many of these plots have been paved over and now exist as barren parking lots peppering the city.
The Dockweiler Cemetery is born out of this displacement of the city’s figment of memory. Piercing out into the pacific ocean as an extension of Los Angeles’ most prominent infrastructure (freeway) and the least understood (Hyperion Waste Water Treatment Center), various programmatic elements are bound together by the pier and semiotically by the word “cemetery” on its memorial wall. Elements often associated with cemeteries such as marble, cypress, lawns and forests attribute to the traditional notions of a cemetery. Corten steel cladding of the crematoria serve as a memento mori as it slowly rusts in the salty ocean air.