espacio cero's shizensou tower is a monument for souls in tokyo
espacio cero's shizensou tower is a monument for souls in tokyo espacio cero's shizensou tower is a monument for souls in tokyo
nov 14, 2016

espacio cero's shizensou tower is a monument for souls in tokyo



strikingly tall and bold, the shizensou tower proposed by espacio cero is a monolithic monument located in the shinjuku district of tokyo city– dedicated to a sacred ritual practiced for many centuries worldwide after a loved one has passed away.

espacio cero shizensou tower monument tokyo designboom
aerial view of the espacio cero shizensou tower — constrasting with its surrounding



espacio cero‘s proposed tower reflects on one particular tradition called shizensou, an ancient japanese practice preceding budhist rituals where the body of a deceased is cremated and their ashes are scattered out in the open — instead of being buried in a grave. whether it is the ocean, mountains, river or up in the sky, this practice is believed to increase the energy balance of the universe by ‘going back to nature’. when a person dies and their ashes are released, it is said that they will find a peaceful journey back to their universal home also known as mother nature — the origin of all life. as a result, shizensou has been traditionally practiced all over the world for centuries because it was considered the most honorable way of treating the remains of the dead.

espacio cero shizensou tower monument tokyo designboom
proposed sacred well that symbolizes acceptance, healing and sacredness



looking beyond that idea, the project also explores the concept of life and death within the city. indeed, every five minutes somebody in tokyo dies (110,500/year) and because of that, private developers have used temples as covers to build cemetery plots — which they can sell for ten times the price of land without taxes. this practice results in the unwanted placement of cemeteries adjacent to homes, in the already densely populated neighborhoods of japan — and tokyo is being forced to face the issue of burial spaces. from that point on, espacio cero has proposed a hollow tower that explores those boundaries between life and death where — after furneral services and grieving have passed — people can spread the ashes of their loved ones into a large well which symbolizes acceptance, healing and sacredness.

espacio cero shizensou tower monument tokyo designboom
the urban flow of the city is also part of the megalith



the shizensou tower is a megalith that contrasts with its surroundings. its imposing and bold appearance results from a construction process in successive layers, animated by natural or artificial light. the final effect reflects on the ephemeral human life and its constant dialogue with the continuity of time — creating a boundary between the frantic rhythm of the city and the timeless interior space.

espacio cero shizensou tower monument tokyo designboom
the hollow tower as a monument for the dead — with a construction process in successive layers

espacio cero shizensou tower monument tokyo designboom
diagrams: the building offers a transition space between life and death

espacio cero shizensou tower monument tokyo designboom
plan: the shizensou tower sits in a quiet place, in the middle of the city



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lea zeitoun | designboom

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