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AJ Student Prize 2018: Ulster University

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The student selected for the AJ Student Prize by Ulster University

About the Belfast School of Architecture and the Built Environment 

  • Courses BA (Hons) Architecture, MArch
  • Location Belfast
  • Head of school Philip Griffiths
  • Full-time tutors 6
  • Part-time tutors 1
  • Students 123
  • Fees Northern Ireland and EU £4,160, GB £9,250, Overseas £13,680


Chris McAvoy, MArch

Approach view

Approach view

Project title Memento Mori: The Ritualised Body and The Elements

Project description The Latin phrase memento mori directly translates into English as ‘remember you must die’ and was the subject of artistic expression during the 17th century. The overall aim of the thesis was to provoke similar questions of how death and funerary rituals are considered within the context of Northern Ireland. The City Promatorium challenges the current cultural and social norms within the city of Belfast and provides an alternative funerary experience that is more environmentally sustainable. Located at the mouth of the River Lagan, the building is carved into its transitory and natural landscape, creating a ceremonial experience that highlights the relationship between the human body and the natural elements of water, sky and ground. A robust concrete shell encloses the ceremony, reflection and catering spaces, with its pigmentation referencing the site’s ancient geological strata of sandstone deposits.

Cloister garden

Cloister garden

Tutor citation ‘Through the use of the Promatorium, Chris developed a sophisticated architectural proposition that skilfully blended programme and topography. This depth of consideration becomes further visible in skilfully detailed tectonic expression where a limited palette of in-situ concrete and timber reinforces the raw power of the proposal. Here the project truly excels, placing the user in contemplative moments with the earth, sea and sky and carefully considered moments in the funerary process.’ David Coyles

Student subscription offer 

Did you know students get 30% off AJ subscriptions? Find out more! 


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