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Why Can’t Death Be Beautiful, Instead of Just Depressing? [Slideshow]

Funeral homes are too damned depressing. All that studied gravity: the mahogany, the bizarre Greek columns, the freakish dearth of windows — it’s enough to make us think we’re the ones in a coffin.

It doesn’t have to be that way, as a striking new funeral parlor in coastal Spain demonstrates. The Funeral Home and Garden in Pinoso, by COR architects, is audaciously modern, a low-slung boxy thing tucked into a hillside, with a shiny black edifice that’d look terribly morose if not broken up by courtyards and generous stretches of glass.

Indoors, the funeral home is bright white and sparsely decorated with the sort of furniture you might find in the cafe of a modern-art museum. Even the chapel — the nerve center for mourners — manages to look light and airy with an all-white paint job and lots of clerestories.

A chic funeral parlor may seem a bit… misguided. After all, who thinks about architecture after losing a loved one? But that’s precisely what makes this design great: You don’t think about it. It’s so minimal and non-oppressive, it takes a back seat to your bereavement, at least that’s the idea.

Per the architects? press release: “We understand this building as a place that will resist being forgotten, remaining in the retinas of their users, and therefore a place where the sensitive realm has to be controlled. Parameters such as sound, temperature, light, humidity, lighting, privacy, relationship with nature become very important.??” We worry that all those windows might make some people feel like they’re on display. But we’d take that over an orgy of mahogany any day.

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