Banality of Death


Jesse Verdoes

Slowly, buildings started to erect from his decomposing body. Piercing through his skin, like fungi on a dead tree, they grew higher and higher. They were not regular buildings, on the contrary, nourished by the great value of the 8th Imam, they shined brightly like the Amanity Muscaria. His final resting place, marked by the extraordinary structures, became a beacon for the living, and later, the heart of a new city: the city of Mashhad.

As the shrine became a great point of attraction for Shia pilgrims, and hereby the main driving force of the city, one could argue that death, ironically, is not only Mashhad’s origin but also its raison d’être. It seems that Imam Reza has breached the walls of mortality, having found new life in the form of a city – by dying.


TU Delft / Faculty of Architecture