ThesisPDF Available

The Vertical Cemetery of Manila



Vertical cemetery in Manila, Philippines, the densiest city in the world. A distopic/utopic vision in the future of what density and death of architecture is bringing.
The Vertical Cemetery of Manila
Manila, the capital of the Philippines, is the densest city in the world. A cemetery is the densest part of
the city. The North Cemetery of Manila is the ecstasy of density.
The social, political, and economic history of the city brought to a new reality paradigm: cohabitation of
life and death, of people living in cemeteries.
The thesis focuses on the study of this contradiction and its relation to architecture.
+1 is the vertical cemetery of Manila, which brings together living inhabitants and dead inhabitants
with precise rules that must be respected.
An iron skyscraper called “The Machine” is the new home with new rules.
The description of the project is a manifesto, articulated to provide guidelines for understanding:
- The Machine is self-sufficient.
- The Machine has a height of 319 m.
- The cells of the machine are 4 m in diameter.
- The floors are divided into 25 modules of 16 square meters each.
- The cells consist of a living area and a sleeping area arranged upside down.
- The cells rotate 180 ° all together at the times set by the
Machine with a chain system:
-06:00 the cell turns 180 ° (from the sleeping area to the living area).
- At 22:00 the cell turns 180 ° (from the living area to the sleeping area).
- The machine is composed of a pillar and beam structure with
section a +.
- The machine is provided with a system of pipes (pillars placed in the middle of the modules) for
the supply and discharge of water.
- Organic waste is conveyed to drains and turned into energy to power the operation of the
- The elevator is the only vertical connection element for accessing to the rest of the city.
- The elevator is powered by organically produced energy.
- The elevator is made of mirrors and counterbalanced by a guillotine.
- The lift runs on the 4 pillars placed at the corners of the building with a pressure system.
- The lift builds the spaces of the machine.
- Neither the supply of electricity nor the supply of gas is envisaged.
- Each family must dismantle their shed in the existing cemetery and turn it into a vegetable
garden in exchange for receiving a living cell in the Machine.
- Each inhabitant living and dead has an entry pass.
- Each family has a 4×4 m living area at its disposal.
Each family must submit to the time of the Machine:
- At 07:00 the lift begins its descent
- 7:17 am arrival on the ground floor
- 09:00 am funeral service (ceremony on the ground floor with marking of the deceased at
the machine)
- 12:00 am the lift begins the ascent
- 12:17 pm the elevator reaches the 70th floor
- At 1.30 pm the lift begins its descent
- 1:47 pm arrival on the ground floor
- At 18:00 the lift begins the ascent
- At 6:17 pm the lift reaches the 70th floor.
Each month the cell arrangement changes algorithmically according to the inhabitants.
Every 5 years, residents must reuse the remains of the deceased to serve the community.
The disregard of the time rules involves the loss of the plot of land.
The repeated neglect of the temporal rules leads to the loss of the living unit.
+1 is set in the year 3019 A.C. and will never be finished (look at the elevations); only when firmitas
and utilitas cease to exist can venustas actually be complete. The shape that the cemetery assumes
derives from mechanistic movements that have put humanity in front of scenarios of continuous
and multiple contradictions.
+1 will be the symbolic architecture of an era with unknown limits and an uncertain future.
+1 becomes a polyphonic narrative full of senses and symbols, it brings to light the sacredness of
the human right to inhabit a home through emotions and memory.
+1 leaves interpretations open.
There are no long-lived references, only fragments over time. It is impossible to take root and look for a
linear meaning. The pace of +1
does not admit asymmetries. The creation of Metropoli led to new, new lifestyles, and cultures. New
cuts and polycentric alignments come together in the Machine, which becomes the beating heart of
Ties are broken and maintained. Where the Metropolis acts with them shock, with high-speed stimuli,
the confined space forces coexistence; a coexistence of living and dead: the Necropoli
fills with memory and experience. The loss of meaning in living in the city is a human condition that
seeks to distinguish itself and recognize itself in the experience and the search for stimuli. +1 puts in
relation disorder with the order, achieving satisfying forms and
eternal in their osmosis.
+1 demonizes the thought system by defining boundaries, breaking down walls, and setting up a new
spatial form, in which everything is destined to move. Movement is assumed as a necessary and
indisputable value for a man-indeterminacy-time posture. Relationships are created and broken down
quickly, every month the clusters of inhabitants are destined to be recomposed in a different way for
the next move. Individualism flows into the mass episodically, in repetitively rigorous individual
Its movements are the pace set for the inhabitants who live in the +1.
The satisfaction of +1 deviates from its content by appropriating itself around. It is the awareness that
takes on meaning through a plot of land. The content is its development. +1 will not be finished; the
forms, linked to a specific function, will turn into ruin before they get to where everything is
The discontinuous time of the Machine unhinges an obsession with the past by declining to a future
projection-in-constructed memory with ruins and scraps of a dead age, through the profound
uncertainty of the present. It is the end that never ceases to end.
Ruin is the tool that allows the human to gain experience of himself as a mortal individual; welcomes
death and rubble.
Only when firmitas and utilitas cease to exist can venustas actually complete oneself, an indispensable
process for the ultimate goal and primordial to embark on a journey.
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