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Last chance to enter: Competition celebrates the architecture of death

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A competition organised by Bompas & Parr and Sir John Soane’s Museum has launched, calling for designs for monuments which celebrate death

Designers and architects are invited to submit their designs for the ‘perfect tomb’ before the end of this week (7 November).

The ‘magnificent celebration of death’ will be displayed at Sir John Soane’s Museum in London’s Lincolns Inn Fields in December.

The competition, entitled Monumental Masonry, hopes to reignite interest in funerary architecture, tombs and mausolea inspired by the sarcophagus housed in the basement of Sir John Soane’s Museum.

A shortlist will be drawn up, and all the shortlisted entries 3d-printed by Bombas & Parr and displayed in the museum next to their original concept drawings.

The winning scheme will be made by a traditional masonry company and displayed at a cemetery.

In a statement the competition organisers, said: ‘Through the creation of physical forms and structures that commemorate lives well-lived, this open competition will provide an antidote to our increasingly digital society and provide an outlet fitting the elevated sense of self that has emerged in recent years, stimulated by the cult of celebrity and the desire to be famous.

‘Monumental Masonry seeks to reconcile these aspects of modern life with our seemingly unchanging and maudlin attitude to death.

‘Participants are free to choose to design tombs, cenotaphs, mausolea or other styles of funerary architecture for either themselves or others (dead or alive).’

Abraham Thomas, director of Sir John Soane’s Museum, commented: ‘Soane’s former home is a fitting location as he was a famed creator of funerary architecture, and had a fascination for concepts of death. Furthermore, the models of mausolea within his collection are powerful, compelling gateways to other architectural ideas and were essential tools in articulating architectural concepts for his students, clients and assistants.

‘In fact, the Soane family tomb that he designed at St Pancras Old Church Gardens provided the inspiration for Giles Gilbert Scott’s iconic British red telephone box.’

Harry Parr, partner of Bompas & Parr, added: ‘Tombs and mausolea are a neglected aspect of the architectural discipline but are ripe for a revival. ‘Mausolea are particularly interesting architecturally as they are removed from the usual practicalities required for human interaction in finished buildings, and allow you to ignore the usual rules governing structure and form.

‘When you combine death with a commemoration of our digital lives we can reinvent monuments to death for the 21st century.’

The deadline for the contest is 7 November.

At a launch event on 5th December, the top three models will also be auctioned, with proceeds split between the Museum and Maggie’s.

The exhibition at Sir John Soane’s Museum will run from 5 December to 3 January.

To enter

Please submit all designs by 7th November to monumental@bompasandparr.com.

Send your submission in PDF format, including detailed and overview images of the proposal.

These can be digital renders or hand drawings. Please limit your entry to one side of an A3 page.

Shortlisted entrants will be required to submit an STL file viable for 3D-printing.

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