Diploma 2014: "Recomposing Presence in Trumpeldor" by Almudena Ruiz-Giménez Úbeda and Nadav Kochavi

A revival to an existing cemetery located in the heart of Tel Aviv, Israel

Short Intro:
In response to current Israeli concerns regarding land shortage and population growth, a new type of cemetery is being build, encompassing transitions from field burial to stacked burial; this highlight a pivotal moment where old customs face modern concerns with sustainability. The project intention is to trigger a debate over the future of burial customs in Israel.

Project description:
Cemeteries distill their cultures. They are a kind of museum, which embeds both people and their stories into parcels of land. In contrast to the characteristically chaotic environments of conurbations, they exist where silence and peace prevail. During recent decades Israeli cemeteries have been constructed on the outskirts of cities, often adjacent to industrial sites. They have suffered from poor architectural qualities due to limited planning and poor attention to detail. Slowly these cemeteries have become sequestered from the people.

A monopoly run by Hevra-kadisha (Organization) is in control of 90% of all cemeteries and burial procedures in Israel. The diploma project sets out to expose the monopoly and reveal that it is not in its best interest to create high quality cemeteries for the community. In reality it feeds-off, lack in burial space, which is being exploited to make large sums of money. The monopoly is thriving due to the fact that 80% of the population obey to some degree religious rules (in our case regarding burial procedures and typologies) therefore any opposition to current typologies must address issues of local traditions in order to be critically relevant. Creating mutations to current typologies allow us to introduce new possibilities that will increase number of graves per area (protecting untouched land) and to keep cemeteries closer to cities ( as opposed to current trend to push them as far as possible in the form of mega structures). We believe that this act will free people to be open minded towards a new vision for local mortuary rites in-tune with the process of change and more responsible from economical, social and environmental perspectives.

By establishing that cemeteries mirror societies and societies are always in a state of change we argue that the cemetery cannot be static. We believe that the project outcomes will be relevant (to a degree) in different contexts, in Israel and abroad, as several issues investigated in the diploma are universal and urgent.

This project was awarded a Distinction for outstanding quality by the assessors. 

All photos: Almudena Ruiz-Giménez Úbeda and  Nadav Kochavi

Concept overview: diagram illustrating expansion approach


model photo taken from exhibition space, Scale -1:200


West entrance to the cemetery/city: City-Cemetery threshold


In the midst of pillars - ground floor view: support system ground level


View on top of the cemetery walls


1-100 East entrance model: Complex building exploded model