PLATdesign: What kind of a place is a cemetery? We began the design of this project by reconsidering the nature of cemeteries. For the family and friends of those deceased, going to visit the cemetery is like paying a visit to their house. From the perspective of the deceased, it is like a home that loved ones may visit, as if they are saying “perhaps everyone will remember me sometimes, and pay me a visit?” We decided to try to make a spatial representation of this, and used “hospitality from the deceased” as our keyword.
One enters the cemetery via the approach, which as the entry point from reality to the realm of the deceased, envelopes the visitors with greenery that changes expression with the seasons. One is first greeted by the Stone wall eye-stop with waterfall, which provides a dignified gateway while also creating sound and movement. From the entry one first sights a giant Linden tree (Tilia miqueliana) standing nearby. As if playing host in the entry of the deceased, the giant tree seems to wait there with outstretch arms, saying “Welcome Welcome!” After being greeted by the Linden tree, one steps further into the graveyard where one is lured by a path lined with “Youkouzakura” cherry trees (Prunus Youkou) which bloom during the Japanese springtime ritual season of visiting the deceased. This avenue lined with cherry trees is positioned as the connection between everyday life and the world of the deceased, thus creating a “bridge between worlds.” One could say that the act of crossing this bridge from this world to the next is like experiencing the world of the afterlife. One’s state of mind shifts when entering a cemetery, which is represented by the change in scenery here, and just as one may stroll through a large estate garden, one feels if they are space-time travelers between the world of the living and the realm of those who lived before us.
Landscape Architecture: PLATdesign
Project name : Kashiwa Center Cemetery
Completion date : 2010
Location : Chiba, Japan
Area : 1.2ha
Designer of Architecture : Someya Architectual Design Office
Client : Izumiya Sekizaiten, Inc.