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Overpass: a Cemetery of the Distant

Overpass re-establishes a relationship between land and life. Due to the rapid development of the global economy and increasing political and environmental hostility, migration has been pervasive throughout the last century. With a profound history of global immigration, New York has yet to sufficiently recognize the extent of loss of identity, community and belonging among migrants. At the same time, with an augmenting shortage of spaces to commemorate the deceased, New York lacks sustainable, ethical and economic procedures for migrants and their relatives to settle their death. Addressing the sorrow and grief of death within a displaced environment and culture, the project provides an alternative form of belonging and reinstates lost kinship for the deceased migrant. The sustainable and transformative infrastructure of human composting transcends the significance of the soul to provide families a meaningful way of memorizing the dead by transitioning the human body into soil. Islands juxtaposed with “sacred” climatized green spaces and mourning passages utilize the soil to nurture other living species and accumulate through time, slowly modifying the occupiable architectural spaces. Cultivated climate regimes correlate with the temperature and moisture of global ecological regions, providing immersive habitat for flora that are familiar and meaningful to migrants’ homelands, while also connecting individuals across diverse geographies. The continuous accumulation, integration and deterioration of soil returns migrants of New York back to the land and beyond, reconnecting the migrated, the city, and distant relatives. The initial project occupies a site adjacent to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum to celebrate the existence, importance, and dedication of immigrants to New York City. New clustering facilities will expand gradually to locations along New York’s shoreline according to the population and needs of immigrant communities.