CONNECTION, particularly in moments of grief, is a core human need. In times like today, where physical distancing is crucial in curbing the current health crisis, connection with loved ones is especially difficult. Thanks to technology, however, people now have several ways of connecting at their disposal to at least make up for the lost physical connection. In this challenging time, funeral chapels have resorted to offering intimate wakes or online funeral services to provide connection despite physical distancing, as a preventive measure against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). Digital or e-services such as a novena and online-guestbook via social media platforms have also sprung out, where families and friends of the deceased relive memories and leave messages for the ones in the Great Beyond through the online platform.
Mausoleums are an extension of a family’s home. It does not only serve as an everlasting resting place for the dead, but is also a place that offers connection within family members as they celebrate and honor the life and legacy of their dearly departed loved ones.
As a principal architect of Adriano Mausoleums, I introduced a unique style to creating mausoleums, which I became one of the most recognized architects in this particular area of architecture. Quite a distinct expertise, I claim that my interest in “sacred architecture” was deeply rooted in my religious upbringing, as I was raised in a devoted Catholic household. Such involvement in religious activities while growing up has ignited my interest and passion for this field.
My profession enables me to design a personal statement for families, while offering them the opportunity to memorialize each one’s life and legacy in a way that also commemorates the most important moments of their departed loved ones.
My firm creates mausoleums that are designed with two main components: the individuality of a family, and the classic Adriano flair — a unique design met with a modern and innovative approach. For me, there is more than meets the eye in designing mausoleums. Apart from the usual architectural considerations, I shared that the resting place should also reflect each family’s unique story, which will mainly serve as the foundation of the design. Before I begin envisioning a mausoleum, I make sure that I know my clients well enough to be able to translate their individualized familial backgrounds to my designs.
In designing mausoleums, it is important that I get to tell the stories of their lives through my designs. In doing so, I make sure that I fully understand the familial and cultural and traditions of my clients to smoothly incorporate these with my own visions. For instance, for my Chinese and Fil-Chinese clients, I work with feng shui (geomancy) masters and learn the what to take into consideration and ensure that these are reflected in the mausoleums.
Architecture and Yin House Feng Shui
With a culture that holds firm beliefs, mausoleums of the Chinese community are strongly hinged on Yin House Feng Shui guidelines. It is a delicate practice where a lot of considerations must be applied to accommodate auspicious circumstances. Apart from the date for the alignment of the casket and its placement into the ground or tomb, the location of the land and the surrounding natural environment are the most important things to consider. The floor plan layouts, placements of doors, windows, stairs, and objects inside the mausoleums are also taken into consideration of the design. It is more complicated than designing an ordinary house.
In ancient Chinese philosophy, it is believed that all energies in the universe exist as a duality — as Yin, the negative energy, or Yang, the positive one. This concept expresses how contradictory forces may actually be interconnected and interdependent on one another.
In feng shui, Yin Feng Shui or Yin House Feng Shui deals specifically with grave sites or burial grounds, the most Yin energy of all. Likewise following the Yin-Yang principle, while the dead has left their loved ones, it does not necessarily mean that they do not affect the living anymore. It offers several guidelines for the descendants to attract positive energy and a continuously prosperous life.
Coming from a religious background, I understand the importance of beliefs to a family. I make sure that, while I follow different religious principles, all these considerations and guidelines are well-respected, upheld, and applied to my designs.
As such, this kind of mausoleum certainly cannot be finished without the expertise of a feng shui master. There are certain rules and belief practices to be followed and implemented with regards to design. If done wrong and the architecture is not in accordance with the right guidelines, it is believed to bring unfavorable effects to the descendants.
Among the Chinese, taking care of their departed loved one brings good fortune to them.
They observe traditions like placing Chinese ornaments like Fu-Dogs to guard the main door of the mausoleum. They use the “Shokem,” where families burned their offerings, prayers and intentions to their departed love ones; and the “Tho-ti-kong,” where their offerings for the god of the soil and ground is placed, is visible in Chinese mausoleums.
Using a Chinese measuring tape plays an important role in the design and construction process. There are specific measurements need to be followed such as placing a door, niches, and the altar.
Traditionally, construction of buildings mostly relies on architectural considerations and the design vision of the architect. As an architect who specializes in mausoleums, the identity of families, which involves their stories, beliefs, and traditions, is the main pillar of the design, and the rest naturally follows.
Unsurprisingly, the price of the memorial lot depends on its size and where it is located. A 39-square-meter estate lot at the prominent memorial park in Taguig City is selling for P20 million, which exceeds even the most expensive condominiums in the country. Not to mention, the cost of the of a mausoleum can go for P9 million.
My purpose in life as an architect is not just designing homes for a shelter but rather, designing mausoleums for families who are suffering from a great loss. Losing a loved one can be extremely painful. Unfortunately, there is nothing that could compensate for that loss.
So as an architect who designs mausoleums, the key role is to find a way that will partly ease the sorrow and grief feelings of the families by helping them in a moving on process through my designs and being part of the family’s fulfilment to show their respect and pays tribute to their departed love ones by giving them a decent resting place that will remembered by their future descendants.
“The true purpose of building a mausoleum is to remember and honor the life of the person we are commemorating. I build mausoleums because someone lived, not someone died.”
A member of the United Architects of the Philippines Metro Chapter, Adriano leads his own firm, Adriano Mausoleums Design & Construction. He is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Adamson University and currently resides in the “Art Capital of the Philippines” Angono, Rizal. More information about Adriano Mausoleums can be found at its official website at <https://archadriano.wixsite.com/architectmausoleum>.
Registration starts at March 12, 2018, Monday, 1:00 p.m.