Sahar Koloushani

Future Concept for Modern Cemetery System in Iran

Cemetery system aims to meet the undeniable need for disposing human physical remains. The disposal should be socially accepted, and the cemetery should also provide services to help the bereaved face the challenges after death. Environmental situations, available resources, (for disposing the dead) traditional values and social requirements (for the society to deal with the social identity and memories of the deceased) are the elements considered in the cemetery system and also in the services provided by the cemetery.

The problem identified in the cemetery systems (specifically in Iran as the research target) is that the cemetery merely functions as an ad-hoc burial site without any further consideration of concepts for visitor needs and environmental aspects. While cemeteries deal with the human remains, the traditional conventions, social requirements and modern society needs in dealing with the social identity of the deceased, as well as their memories, are all ignored.

Through the conducted research, to dispose human remains in a socially accepted manner in Iran, the changes must be intervened regarding the emotional requirements, traditional values, recreational facilities, convenient access, and infrastructure considering environmental aspects and land scarcity.
The cemetery system is conceptualized through a new lens defined by users’ needs and requirements from modern communities and environmental aspects regarding the recognized intervention area. This led to innovations for virtual memorial solutions, Recompose as the disposal practice, and new facilities to satisfy users’ needs.

The final strategy consists of the Recompose disposal practice which uses a process called Natural Organic Reduction (NOR) to turn the body remains into soil and nutrition, introduced in the cycle of natural organic living. Further, a new offsite place (green park) is added to the facilities of the cemetery, which is inside the city and has the purpose of performing a mourning ceremony, rituals, and festive celebrations for the deceased. Additionally, memorials of the dead would be placed for the events at the new location, either around the park or at a memorial museum for the visitors. Lastly, a memorial website as well as a virtual grave is created to enshrine the identity of the deceased and allow for broader participation from outside.

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