HIGH-RISE HOMES FOR THE ANCESTORS: CREMATION IN HONG KONG*

Authors

  • ELIZABETH K. TEATHER

    Search for more papers by this author
    • 1

      Dr. Teather, a visiting scholar at the Hong Kong Baptist University, 1995–1997 and 1999–2000, is a senior lecturer in geography and planning at the University of New England, Armidale 2351, Australia.


  • *

    I wish to acknowledge with thanks the comments made by John Sheung-yee Lee, James Hayes, Patrick Hase, and Dan Waters; translations and comments by Chun-shing (Eddie) Chow; Janet Scott's generous sharing of her file of press clippings; and encouragement from Dennis Jeans and David Teather.

Abstract

ABSTRACT. A massive, voluntary shift to cremation has taken place in Hong Kong over the past forty years. The provision of facilities by the colonial government and private organizations began with niche walls in existing cemeteries. These were soon supplemented by sizable buildings known as columbaria. The largest and most recent columbarium, completed in 1996, provides 49,884 niches, each of which can hold at least two sets of ashes. Designing columbaria that are functional, sensitive, and culturally specific provides a fascinating challenge to architects. This article contrasts the conservative response of the public sector with the more expressive solutions of private providers.

Ancillary