Sanne Mulder

Sanne Mulder


The counsellor

A new typology in funeral homes

Death is unavoidable yet it is a subject that we choose to avoid as a society. Death is not an easy topic to talk about. People would rather not get confronted with it, because they do not want to think about the end of life. This can make it difficult for the people who are grieving and need support to find that comfort from the people around them.

The world gets more digital every day. Family and friends are physically more distant, which makes it more difficult to talk about feelings, express emotions and how to react to grief face to face. Existing funeral homes often do not give the kind of support and comfort the bereaved seek either, as they can feel slightly industrial and impersonal rather than comforting and welcoming. This raises the questions: what emotions play a big role in healing, what it is that people need to grief properly and how can we give them that, considering different cultures and the journey of grief?

The Netherlands is a cultural diverse country, but there is only one multicultural funeral home. This askes for a new approach towards funeral homes for all cultures and the emotions and rituals that come with it.  
There two main principles for this design are:

1. The building as the counsellor,  which can be seen as the qualities of the counsellor as a person translated into architectural qualities as in dimensions, materials and colour.  

2. The journey, which is dived in time (time of grief, the different seasons of the year and hours of the day) and process (movement through the building, alternating in- and outside, materials from dark to light and from rough to smooth).
This result in sensory architecture with a sequence of spaces and experiences. A place where the building becomes the counsellor.

Graduation date: 24 August 2021
Graduation committee: Pnina Avidar (mentor), Jo Barnett and Jeanne Tan.
Additional members for the exam: Wouter Kroeze, Ricky Rijkenberg

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