Student Project | Death As Life

The project is located in a public cemetery near the yaowang temple in Tokyo, Japan.Cemeteries exist in Japan as parks for everyday use.With the continuous development of the city, land resources are in short supply, so people need to find a new cemetery to relieve the shortage of burial places.The project aims to leave a quiet and sacred corner in the complex life of the city, allowing people to reflect on the profound meaning of life and death, and alleviate the land use problem.

Through the study of the evolution of the concept of life and death in traditional Japanese culture, it can be found that people’s needs for the burial form of the dead have undergone great changes, from complex to simple procedures.In modern times due to the shortage of land resources, new burial forms such as tree burial and other new burial methods are gradually accepted.

Through the understanding of relevant history, we extract a series of symbols about Japanese life and death culture, and project the concept of “impermanence of life and death” in Japanese culture into the landscape design.

In the detailed design of the cemetery, cultural symbols are abstracted and mapped to the site

Through the comparison of various elements such as plants, materials, terrain, lighting and time, people can experience the feelings of life and death on site.

In the site, the monument is designed through the abstract form of torii, and the experience people walk through corresponds to the evolution of the “death approach spirit” in the Japanese cultural tradition, which brings people closer to the two concepts of death and life.

In the redesigned cemetery, a variety of burial methods are used to coexist according to the different scenes, so that the space can be used with maximum efficiency.

In this project, people can experience life to death and then to life according to the changes of time and space, as well as the two different experience lines from death to life and then to death.

Yuxuan Cai, Student of Wuhan Polytechnic University
Hongqian Li, Student of Nanjing Forestry University

Text and Image Credits: Yuxuan Cai; Hongqian Li;

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Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at