Skyscraper Cemeteries Proposed In Norway As Graveyard Shortage Hits Crisis

Martin McSherry

What with property prices in most major cities reaching unattainable levels even for people with actual jobs, it's no surprise that the dead are also finding it touch to find a place to rest.

Now an architect has a novel solution - instead of sending our coffins down into the ground, let's send them up into the sky.

Martin McSherry, a student in Oslo, has proposed a "vertical cemetery" at the Conference for Nordic Cemeteries and Graveyards after a call for solutions to a growing crisis in the country as to where to put the deceased. The situation in Norway is so bad that bodies are given just two years to decompose before the land is reused for another unfortunate occupant.

The idea - which amounts to a skyscraper for the dead - is designed to hold thousands of bodies and grow over time, as need requires.

The building would have "an adjoining, permanent crane" with which to lift the dead to their final resting place. It would also have a central smoke stack out of which ashes would rise from a crematorium in the basement.

Oddly enough, as the Verge points out, vertical cemeteries are not a new idea - the Memorial Necropole Ecumenica in Brazil is 32 stories high, and has housed the local dead for almost three decades. Going further back, cities such as Paris used vertical stacking to find resting places for its life-challenged citizens, though the stacking was admittedly restricted to the bones themselves and not the buildings in which they were placed.