Religion for Atheists
Noah’s ARKitecture / Book of Copies
At His Majesty’s Pleasure
In the UK we give nearly twice as much money to animal charities as we do to medical charities, while in America more money is spent by parents on their pets than on their children. With the proliferation of animal-based memes on the internet, it is far more likely that contemporary mausolea will be built to honour our furry friends than for our human counterparts.
In response, MONUMENTIMALS proposes a series of monumental animal mausolea. Taking inspiration from ancient Egyptian cat mummies and sarcophagi (some of which are included in Soane’s encyclopaedic collection), the form of the proposal pays homage to the animal’s better days, encasing and protecting a stone sarcophagi inside a series of monumental masonry slabs.
The exhibition was the result of a collaboration between Sir John Soane’s Museum and Bompas & Parr, who together launched an open call for architects and designers to create ’epic monuments in a magnificent celebration of death’.
The competition was designed to reignite interest in funerary architecture, tombs and mausolea inspired by the sarcophagus housed in the basement of Sir John Soane’s Museum. It attracted 120 entries from international architects and designers. Some 24 designs were shortlisted by Bompas & Parr and these were then scored on narrative, rationale, relevance and ’monumentality’ by a panel of judges that comprised architects, a professional stonemason, palliative care experts and the Mayor of London’s cultural office. Ten winning entries, including MONUMENTIMALS, were then selected to be 3D printed for the exhibition and auctioned by Christies at a spectacular launch night. Collectively, the models raised £5,000 for Sir John Soane’s Museum and cancer charity Maggie’s.
© Thomas Greenall