Monday, October 20, 2014


Schematic Design.

The bones of my schematic presentation:


Friday, October 17, 2014


The concept was also coming together as a diagram of before death - death - and after death, as the past, the present, and the future.

The plan was for this to fit with the function of these areas. So before the death, the ill are required to participate in psychological assessments to confirm sound mind. These sessions allow the ill to reflect upon their life and the past.

Similarly, after the death, guests of the ill would be encouraged to contemplate upon the event that had just happened, but to also contemplate the future of their own lives and the death that will eventually come to them...

Additionally I was beginning to explore the opportunity to inhabit the underground fortifications on site.

The idea was to descend down the existing ramp and occupy the existing underground structures as the 'before' spaces -- psychological assessment and discussion, in both group and individual, with both the ill and the guests. Being underground, these spaces are very internally focused, and seemed to fit the brief in terms of a space in which internal reflection would occur.

Then leading to the most northern point of the forts, you would re-emerge and through the existing observation room, the view and vista is slowly revealed. Here the death would occur in the only space of the project that was the view.

Afterwards, the guests would make their way back to their lodgings through a garden, where courtyards would offer places to pause with privacy to cry...



In order to form a concept I began to think about how the ritual would come to be important for the death.

It was interesting to read about Tibetan Buddhist rituals and the importance of the ritual and certain circumstances in order to ensure a 'good' rebirth, in their reincarnation.
Some recommended the presence of a lama (usually summoned after death). It was also very important to keep the patient in a calm frame of mind -- including the exclusion of spouse and family as their crying and presence can arouse feelings of attachment and aversion, highly influencing the re-birth. Angry and unpleasant thoughts will result in re-births into the lower realms.

Most importantly, the patient is to remain awake and not to lose consciousness. They are to recognise the stages of their death and to meditate through it and endeavour to die sitting up (in the meditation posture), or lying on their right side "in the manner of a sleeping lion", with their head pointing north.

This last point I find the most relevant to what I am trying to achieve in my project, as the intent is for the ill to be awake and aware, and to die alive...



Drawings from my first site visit to Middle Head, the day before our Site Diagram submission:

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Before the site diagram submission I made a trip to Sydney to visit both Bare Island and Middle Head, and although I presented both sites as possibilities, it had become clear that Middle Head was ideal.

I had found Bare Island too severe and harsh an environment as the site is very exposed.

Middle Head however is quite calm as it is sheltered from harsh southerly winds.

I was also beginning to form a concept of a religious place in which the earth and nature is the deity. The vantage point at Middle Head seemed to really give a feeling of awe for nature and the earth in that way, as you become quite removed from the city on the site.

You become quite enveloped by the magnificence of the harbour and the North and South Heads forming the gateway to the ocean beyond meeting the infinite sky at the horizon.


The notes I wrote to myself at site diagram:

18 March 2014

What am I looking for in a site?
A Threshold  - gateway. life and beyond. known and unknown.
- ocean cliffs - land and ocean.
- what lies beyond is revealed to the patient, and hidden from the others.
- mourners reflect upon the land (life) and the known.

Frontier - access to an uninterrupted view of the ocean and horizon.

Remote - or at least feel remote.
- as the beginning of the journey of moving away from your life and the 'known'
- and for guests to progress through their mourning emotional and monumental nature of the project calls for a dramatic and powerful site.

potential sites:
  • North Head Reserve at Manly
  • Waterfall Bay, Tasman Peninsula, Tasmania.
 19 March 2014
after speaking with Pete it was decided Tassy is no good - needs to be closer to a larger population, and therefore Sydney area. A few other suggestions were:
  • Middle Head at Mosman
  • Cockatoo Island
  • Bare Island.
Cockatoo Island I ruled out almost immediately as there is already so much going on on the island, and didn't have the right 'vibe' I was looking for.

I decided to explore Middle Head and Bare Island, as they both sat just within the frontier of their harbour/bay and views towards the gateway into the infinite.


In order to create a brief for the project I have based the legal limitations on international precedents, namely Switzerland and Netherlands as their systems are transparent and have received the most scrutiny.

Through this I've been able to make an assumption that any voluntary euthanasia law in Australia will be an 'physician-assisted suicide' bill. The difference being that the final lethal act is carried out by the individual and not by a 3rd party (ie, lethal injection administered by a nurse). This ensures that the final act is fully controlled by the individual and 'assisted' (not 'administered') by a qualified physician.

The ceremony described and designed for the Denouement uses the suicide method used by DIGNITAS in Switzerland.

To design a space for such a powerful event has proved trying. Though, the opportunity to create beautiful phenomenological architectural gestures has been extremely rewarding.