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Chao Heng Yang

MA work

A living Monument : the reconstruction of an village through introducing cemetery rituals

‘People are usually so busy looking at the colors they forget the urns, they see everyday items from people’s lives. One man liked to drink martinis, so his family brought his favorite martini shaker to put his ashes in. One man was a baseball fan his, and his ashes are in a ceramic baseball, and the niche is decorated to look like a baseball stadium. It’s a sort of living monument...‘ -- An interview with a columbarium keeper.

Reimagining the columbarium space can encourage and invite communal gathering and begin to reduce the chasm between the living and the dead. The project aim to reconstruct the abandoned historical village in Taipei - The Treasure Hill. A serious architecture intervention introduce a funeral collective ritual, bringing a second life into a rambling complex of the forgotten slum.

The design follows the existing village context and rebuilds along the ruins. To encourage ‘living’ among the dead, a cemetery scenario is introduced as a living monument: the celebration, the screening memory, the archive square and the city-viewing retreat. The columbarium tower is not a soulless, dense apartment for the dead anymore. The niches within the columbarium walls will serve to celebrate the individuality and life of the person that they represent to the point where visitors no longer remember that they are in a space ‘of the dead’ but instead see only colour and life. Each columbarium wall will become a sort of living monument, as opposed to a tombstone.

Death is not the end. Being forgotten is.


  • Chao Heng
  • MA Degree


    School of Architecture


    MA Architecture, 2018

  • Chao is an artist and architecture from Taiwan currently completed her MA Architecture Master degree in Royal College of Art in London. Before her MA in Architecture, Chao studies one year in MA Animation at theRoyal College of Art. Her works range from digital printing, collage to moving image.

  • Degrees

  • BA Architecture, National Cheng Kung University, 2012
  • Experience

  • Architecture Designer, Stonehenge Architects International, Taipei, 2012-2015; Intern Architecture Designer, ARTONICS+BAU Architects, Taipei, 2011; Intern Architecture Designer, ARCHITERIOR Architect & Associates, Taipei, 2010
  • Exhibitions

  • RA Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Art, London, 2017; Filmideo, Index Art Center, New Jersey, 2017; Philadelphia Independent Film Festival, Philadelphia, 2017; London Short Film Festival, London, 2018; The Wrong, New Digital Art Biennale, 2018; Outwardly Coiling Context Collapse, Online Exhibition, 2016; NIGHT SCHOOL #1, London, 2015