The vertical cemetery of Manila


AUTHORS: Ivan Bello, Franklind Jesku
PLACE: Manila, Philippines
YEAR: 2019
STATUS: Unbuilt
INSTAGRAM: @if.architects


+1 is the vertical cemetery of Manila, the densest city in the world, which brings together living inhabitants and dead inhabitants with precise rules that must be respected.

The description of the project is a manifesto, articulated in order to provide guidelines for understand the project:


  • The Machine is self-sufficient.
  • The machine has a height of 319 m.
  • The cells of the machine are 4 m in diameter.
  • The floors are divided into 25 modules of 16 square meters each.
  • The cells consist of a living area and a sleeping area arranged upside down.
  • The cells rotate 180 ° all together at the times set by the

Machine with a chain system:

  1. 06:00 the cell turns 180 ° (from sleeping area to living area).
  2. At 22:00 the cell turns 180 ° (from the living area to the sleeping area).
  • The machine is composed of a pillar and beam structure with

section a +.

  • The machine is provided with a system of pipes (pillars placed in the middle of the modules) for the supply and discharge of water.
  • Organic waste is conveyed to drains and between turned into energy to power the operation of the machine.
  • The elevator is the only vertical connection element for access the rest of the city.
  • The elevator is powered by organically produced energy.
  • The elevator is made of mirrors and counterbalanced by a guillotine.
  • The lift runs on the 4 pillars placed at the corners of the building with a pressure system.
  • The lift builds the spaces of the machine.
  • Neither the supply of electricity nor the supply of gas is envisaged.


  • Each family must dismantle their shed in the existing cemetery and turn it into a vegetable garden in exchange for receiving a living cell in the Machine.
  • Each inhabitant living and dead has an entry pass.
  • Each family has a 4×4 m living area at its disposal.


  • Each family must submit to the time of the Machine:
  1. At 07:00 the lift begins its descent
  2. 7:17 am arrival on the ground floor
  3. 09:00 am funeral service (ceremony on the ground floor with marking of the deceased at the machine)
  4. 12:00 am the lift begins the ascent
  5. 12:17 pm the elevator reaches the 70th floor
  6. At 1.30 pm the lift begins its descent
  7. 1:47 pm arrival on the ground floor
  8. At 18:00 the lift begins the ascent
  9. At 6:17 pm the lift reaches the 70th floor.
  • Each month the cell arrangement changes algorithmically according to the inhabitants.
  • Every 5 years, residents must reuse the remains of the deceased to serve the community.
  • The disregard of the time rules involves the loss of the plot of land.
  • The repeated neglect of the temporal rules leads to the loss of the living unit.

+1 is set in the year 3019 A.C. and will never be finished (look at the elevations); only when firmitas and utilitas cease to exist can venustas actually  be complete. The shape that the cemetery assumes derives from mechanistic movements that have put humanity in front of scenarios of continuous and multiple contradictions.

+1 will be the symbolic architecture of an era with unknown limits and an uncertain future.

+1 becomes a polyphonic narrative full of senses and symbols, it brings to light the sacredness of the human right to inhabit a home through the emotions and memory.

+1 leaves interpretations open.


Graduated in Trieste (Italy) in 2019, they are currently in Copenhagen looking for the contradictions that moves today’s world through architecture. They participate in international competitions and they are working to open the ”IF Architects” studio.

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