Raptured: a burial complex for the evacuees of Pripyat
The paranormal nature of a rapture has been the catalyst of mysterious ideas and speculations for ages. Often forgotten is the psychological trauma that such an event will impose upon a community and also a landscape. This is especially true for instances where individuals are taken against their will, thus ripped from the daily milieu that define their identity. The name ‘Chernobyl’ would forever be clouded in mystery and be synonymous with a wide scale rapture. The nearby town, Pripyat, stands today as a ghost town remembering not only the power of the atom, but also an urban time capsule of the utopian life that was lived there. Today, this strong modernist town is only inhabited by a deafening silence, juxtaposed against the rhythmic clicking of the Geiger counter by your side. Radioactivity has been stereotyped over years as the ‘invisible enemy’. It is this characteristic that terrorizes and breaks down not only the physical body, but also the psyche of a human being. Being terrorized by a force invisible to the human eye leads to an elevated level of traumatization, scarring the body not only on a visible, but also deeper invisible level. There exists a current conflict amongst the former individuals of the town in that they clearly utopianize their life in Pripyat, but at the same time there is the lingering memory of that fateful day in April that ripped them from this utopian town. Furthermore, Pripyat still exists today with no apparent visual scarring. Thus the utopian nostalgia is juxtaposed against the fact that the town is visually and psychologically still in tact, but physically uninhabitable. Recently, the Exclusion Zone or “Zone of Alienation” has been opened to tourists and former inhabitants for brief periods of time. The site is limited to day visits only, with strict prohibitions enforced by the military on overnight stays. This thesis aims to insert a cemetorial place into the town of Pripyat, in order to ignite discourse on placemaking for death in a raptured landscape.