Panel submission for The Last Room competition. “Imagine a last room not for dying but a room for living…a single ‘room’ distilled to the essentials, a room providing for a rich, pleasurable and specific existence.”
The aim of this project is to complete the natural life cycle of the human body by creating a room of sustainable transformation which serves as a place for meditative practice as well as an urn for the inhibitor to pass peacefully on into death. This approach will recycle the bodies nutrients and energies back into the amorphous whole of the universe. This approach offers an alternative procedure and mindset when it comes to dealing with your own death and the after-life of your body. Drawing from the Tibetan book of the dead’s approach on death and dying, this room gives the inhibitor a chance to consciously experience their own death within meditation. This approach considers the experience of dying and death as an essential event in the human adventure and a birth right of all living beings. The room provides an opportunity to experience the enlightenment and liberation of a nervous system that is void of mental-conceptual activity. This Buddhist mindset views the body as an empty shell which may freely be consumed by nature once the “soul” has passed on. Many Asian rituals allow the bodies of the deceased to be scavenged by animals and the earth and essentially are fed back into nature. This is contradictory to the western approach on death which holds much importance in the physical human body once the soul has passed on by creating decorative boxes, rooms, and tombs for the body to live.
The design of this room draws inspiration from the buddhist ritual of self-mummification where the individual consciously chooses to transform into death. In order for this room to be implemented it must first be sought out by a person who knows they are about to die, and want to consciously consider the experience of their own death, and how their body will be dealt with after death. The room has two phases in it’s life-cycle; budding and blooming. While budding, the room will be used as a space for closed eye meditation and reflection while the individual is still living, and would essentially create a dark and comfortable space for the inhibitor to sit and focus inwards. After they have died, the room will act as a sustainable and nutritious urn for the body. In order to implement this, the room will be built only with materials that can decompose naturally back into the earth over time. In the base of the floorboards of the room will be numerous seeds which will in turn use the nutrients of the decomposing human body in the soil to grow. The inhibitor would decided before hand where their room would be placed. The room can essentially be placed anywhere as long as it in on top of soil and has access to sunlight, appropriate climate, and would not need any human or state up-keeping. Overtime the rope holding the room in it’s budding phase will break and the room will bloom, giving room for the flowers to grow.