Water Cremation

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.

This space acts as a step between the reception and the waiting areas. Families can gather here and catch up so that they feel mentally prepared to witness the cremation.

Water Cremation Waiting area

This space acts as a step between the reception and the waiting areas. Families can gather here and catch up so that they feel mentally prepared to witness the cremation.

Water Cremation Reception

The seating area is where the family can sit with each other as well as a member of staff to discuss the witness cremation. These moments of pause are important as they offer the families spaces to pause and reflect.

Water cremation waiting area

The seating area is where the family can sit with each other as well as a member of staff to discuss the witness cremation. These moments of pause are important as they offer the families spaces to pause and reflect.
The water cremation space holds witness cremations which means once the bereaved enter the space they will be able to dress the casket, normally with flowers or pictures, and then they will witness the cremation. This active participation allows them to be engaged with the process. I also wanted this intimate space to be able to be opened up to the public in a controlled and educational way. So as you can see in this visual the ceiling is actually a void space which has a curtain that can be opened to let the public in or closed to allow complete privacy. Viewing a body has many benefits to the bereaved, often times seeing is believing and viewing the deceased a time for everyone to say goodbye to the deceased in their own personal way. I think through media. Corporations and how much death had been medicalised over the years, deceased bodies have been removed from society and stigmatised. By allowing people to witness a cremation and see the body in a safe and controlled way, this space will reduce the fear of bodies, and therefore the fear of death.

Function room

The water cremation space holds witness cremations which means once the bereaved enter the space they will be able to dress the casket, normally with flowers or pictures, and then they will witness the cremation. This active participation allows them to be engaged with the process. I also wanted this intimate space to be able to be opened up to the public in a controlled and educational way. So as you can see in this visual the ceiling is actually a void space which has a curtain that can be opened to let the public in or closed to allow complete privacy. Viewing a body has many benefits to the bereaved, often times seeing is believing and viewing the deceased a time for everyone to say goodbye to the deceased in their own personal way. I think through media. Corporations and how much death had been medicalised over the years, deceased bodies have been removed from society and stigmatised. By allowing people to witness a cremation and see the body in a safe and controlled way, this space will reduce the fear of bodies, and therefore the fear of death.