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Student Gallery M.Arch

Crystal Core

401.3 Advanced Topics Studio


Work by Aleksandra Majka and Zephyr Zhu for Simon Kim's Advanced Topics Studio, "Architectures of Performance". This studio is an exploration of public commons, synthetic nature, and worldbuilding and is in collaboration with Jon Spaihts, writer of Dune and Prometheus.

Project Statement:

Crystal Core is a cutting edge facility which offers a transformative process and an alternative to the current approach to and view of death. Currently in Los Angeles, acres of land are occupied by headstones. Approximately 60,000 deaths occur in Los Angeles County every year. Crystal Core provides an alternative to the current outlook and process of death in the form of our public commons. Our ritualistic burial space shows life after death through the transformation of crystallization and becoming a piece of a larger whole. And the crystallization of the heart represents a transformation and transference of energy from an earthly corporeal being into another form existing on a different plane.

Set in the context of the La Brea Tar Pits and next to the LACMA, and cut deep into the earth, the Crystal Core is a city of the dead, which descends down into the earth. The experience of entering the city emphasizes the descent downward to emulate the transition from life to death. This is a site of death, memory, and transformation. The City of Crystal Core offers a new way to experience death, both for the living and the dead, and honors the individual entity while contributing to a larger, mystical whole. The deceased's hearts are crystallized as a way to honor the deceased and display a physical transformation after death from an earthly corporeal form to a new crystalline form. Are you ready to experience life after death? If you can’t wait to live, join Crystal Core and become a member of our growing, living community. At Crystal Core, we offer a different way to experience death and the promise of transformation into a new life form.

Majka and Zhu presenting during Fall 2023 Finals
Related topics
Ecology, Mixed Reality
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