HART ISLAND OSSURARY
The Forgotten Million, Now Remembered
Being a large city, New York not only has a large impoverished population, but also frequently experiences waves of disease. In order to deal with the death toll, the city began to bury bodies on Hart Island, a small isle on Long Island Sound. Hart Island Ossuary offers a proposal for an open-air visitors center, memorial and observation tower allowing guests to get panoramic views of the massive grave site while also taking the millions of dead out of anonymity.
ACSA / AISC Steel Design Competition
Hart Island, New York
Rhinoceros3D, Grasshopper (+Pufferfish), V-Ray, Photoshop, Illustrator
fig. 1. View of intervention from burial site
The island sports a collection of dilapidated buildings and fields of enumerated posts, each representing 150 bodies. Until recently, the island was under the jurisdiction of Rikers Correctional Center, with inmates working to bury the dead. In 2019, the island was passed over to the parks department, to create a public and pleasant cemetery space for visitors and tourists alike.
fig. 2. Site and location plans
fig. 3. History of the island
Due to the unmarked graves and the few accessible roads on the island, grave visitors may not be able to reach their loved one’s resting place. Taking advantage of the ruins of the former Phoenix House, the ramping structure weaves below, through and above the crumbling brick façade, commemorating not only the dead but also the history of the island.
fig. 4. Components isometrics
fig. 5. Perspective from approach
fig. 6. Perspective from interior platforms
fig. 7. Ground floor plan
fig. 8. Roof plan
fig. 9. Perspective from approach
fig. 10. Perspective from interior platforms
fig. 11. Perspective section
fig. 12. East elevation
fig. 13. Perspective in atrium
fig. 14. Detail exploded axonometric