One of the most mysterious towers ever conceived, the Tower For the Dead is actually a practical solution that adresses the needs of our growing and aging population. The proposal won honorable mention in the 2011 eVolo Skyscraper Competition for its vertical eco graveyard concept, which frees up valuable land in overcrowded Mexico City. However, the tower provides more than just a mode for saving space — as the design team describes, “The ‘Tower for the Dead’ allows the family members of the deceased to be reborn, after a trip to the underworld, where they just buried their loved one.”
Developed by Israel López Balan, Elsa Mendoza Andrés, and Moisés Adrián Hernández García, the tower is a response to the aging population’s need for considerable land, if they were to be buried in the traditional cemetery plot. The subterranean tower is the result of thinking how families in Mexico City will be able to properly bury a family member without consuming what little undeveloped space is left — especially land for agriculture on the outskirts of the city. As existing cemeteries grow denser the design team imagines that great shafts will be the next logical phase. Therein bodies can lay to rest deep under the earth, but still have markers assessable to visitors.
The Tower of the Dead is not just a repository, but an architectural expression of the grieving process. Large ramps spiral down the main light shaft, allowing visitor to immerse themselves in the 5 stages of the grieving process and come out with resolution and acceptance of their loss. The tower is also a fascinating way to see how a building can resolve environmental restraints, while providing a new resolution for the age-old struggle of mourning lost loved ones.