Eilidh McEwan (she/her)
The first floor compromises of a community space, an event space and a death design retail space. My aim for this space is for it to embody the restoration-oriented stage of grief. This community space will be open at night after the crematorium has closed. This is an open and airy space that aims to help the grieving try new things and reconnect with the world after their loss.
death design retail space
Death doula’s provide non medical care and support for the person and their family before, during and after their death. That might entail everything from where they envision themselves resting to what music or poems they want recited. The doulas spend several hours a day talking to their patients about how they feel about all the oncoming changes, both emotionally and physically. Throughout the dying process, they check in with family members to alleviate their stress. Once the patient has died, they guide the surviving members through the grief process, educating them on the emotional stages to expect and how to practice self-soothing.
Death Doula Indoor Garden and Kitchen Area
Death Doula curtain pods
FINALE is an an open and safe death positive space. The building features multiple levels and zones catered towards different aspects of death. Each zone allows people to come to terms with their own mortality in different ways, no matter what stage in life they are. I chose the name finale as it ties in with the history of the building, as it was a purpose built cinema build in 1922. A finale is a term given to the ending of something often exciting or spectacular. I think Western society would benefit from viewing death more as a finale, focusing on a celebration of someones life rather than the loss of it.
When I was researching the death industry at the start of fourth year, ones of the main issues I found was a lack of sustainable death options. The funeral industry in the UK is estimated to be worth around £1 billion annually with over 600,000 funerals taking place each year. I realised a lot of the practices upheld by this industry are not only damaging to our relationships with death but also the environment. In one year globally, the funeral industry uses 4 million acres of forest for creating caskets, 2 million tons of concrete is used for burial vaults and 800,000 gallons of Formaldehyde is used for embalming. Formaldehyde is considered to be in the top 10% of the Environmental Agency’s most hazardous and damaging chemicals, it is also known to cause cancer. Moreover, our current use of cremation also releases formaldehyde as well as mercury vapour, carbon dioxide, monoxide, sulphur dioxide and carcinogens. One way funeral homes or crematoriums could participate in eco death is by swapping fire cremation for water cremation. Water cremation is an environmentally friendly alternative where the process of alkaline hydrolysis is harnessed to break a body down into its chemical components using water, lye, pressure and heat. The resulting liquid contains amino acids, sugars and salts and can be used as plant fertiliser. When compared to flame cremation, alkaline hydrolysis uses 1/8th of the energy and leaves less than 1/4th of the carbon footprint. Water emission drastically reduces the greenhouse gas emissions compared to fire cremation and the water used to reduce the body is less than 3 days worth of water that the average person uses. By including eco death options into this site I hope encourage more sustainable practices in the funeral industry.