Architecture for the dead

Although some societies have become a little squeamish over dealing with the dead, pre-afterlife facilities got a contemporary yet comforting makeover this year.

The Exit Here funeral parlour opened in London to offer clients a light and bright place to make arrangements for loved ones who have passed away.

In the US, Olson Kundig Architects unveiled designs for  an after-death facility where corpses will be turned into compost. By 2021 Seattle residents will be able to visit Recompose for an alternative to cremation or burial, where bodies are placed in modular vessels with wood chips and turned into nutrient-rich soil.

Increasing awareness about the pollution caused by cremation led one architecture graduate to design an alternative eco-crematorium, where bodies could undergo liquid cremation and be interred as wearable keepsakes.

More controversial was the 3D-printed suicide machine that went on display at the Venice Biennale.

Housing by celebrities

Famous people were lining up to collaborate on housing projects in 2019. Kanye West revealed in an interview that he was experimenting with a housing typology that took inspiration from Star Wars sets. Photos obtained by news sites showed domed structures made from a lattice of curved beams, but after it was discovered that they violated building protocol the domes were demolished.

Pharrell Williams was another music and fashion mogul who turned his hand to housing. Along with a group of developers, architects and interior designers Williams announced he is collaborating on a pair of towers in Toronto that will hold 750 apartments.

Even Barbie got in on the celebrity crossover action, lending her distinctive all-pink style to Malibu Dreamhouse, available to rent on Airbnb.