Death in the City

An exhibition about death and modern architecture

The theme of death is relevant to us all and where we die is a critical part of that; how and where we die underpin a lot of cultural ideas about what a ‘good death’ is. In the UK, 3% of people want to die in hospital, but 53% do; almost one in three hospital patients in Scotland will die within a year, and nearly one in 10 will die during their time in hospital. As architects and urban designers, we think that it is important to look critically at our approach to death and the places associated with it, so that we can start to create better spaces for death and dying in the future.

Architecture related to death and dying used to be influential and important to the development of architecture as a discipline. Hospitals, funeral chapels and cemeteries used to set an example that would be followed, and not only in other buildings related to death and dying. These forms would set trends and define values for architecture more widely. Today, this once strong position seems to have faded away completely and  this type of architecture is largely hidden from view.

Moreover, it is rarely foregrounded in the architectural history of the 20th century. The curators decided to bring this topic to the discussion of fundamentals and modernity because death is fundamental and its changing place in modern society is worth significantly more attention from architects and urban designers.

‘Death in Venice’ is an independent event, which will be shown at the Ludoteca Santa Maria Ausiliatrice in Venice (Italy), from 4-11 June 2014 curated by Alison Killing and Ania Molenda with the collaboration of LUST.