Redesigning the Deconstructed: Chapels of St. John
This thesis project will focus on completing an unfinished puzzle that will tie together memory, culture and a future vision. John the Beloved traveled throughout the Mediterranean and eventually settled in Ephesus where he spent the rest of his days, later passing away and being buried in Ayasuluk Hill. Over his tomb today sheep roam. He is the only apostle who does not have a proper tomb over his body or a place for people to celebrate and worship, to read his writings while going through the ritual of the mass that he helped design. This project seeks to rectify this by creating a series of chapels that will allow for the three original denominations of Christianity to worship. Around the 4th century, a few hundred years after St. John died in Ephesus, a church was built atop his tomb. The Basilica, whose ruins are still visible today, was built by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. In the 13th century, Tamerlane’s Mongol army leveled the site, leaving the Basilica in ruins. The ruins sit at the base of Ayasuluk hill as part of the renowned ruins of Ephesus. The campus will create a place for rest, for meditation, celebration and worship. It finds its inspiration in the writings of John where love is the key element. The word “love” appears 57 times in the Gospel of John and 46 times in his First Epistle. The concept of love and affection will be driving themes throughout the project as they are driving themes in St. John’s writings. This thesis will provide a reconstruction of this site allowing for the three original denominations of Christianity to worship. There are three important rules guiding this project. The first, is that it protects and respects Saint John, by creating a proper space of worship for him. The second, is to touch the site as little as possible so as to not disturb the ruins and bring respect to the physical site. The third, is for the project to have a clear distinction the ruins so that you can clearly define what is old and new. The three pillar denominations of Christianity: Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Armenian Apostolic, will all have their own places of worship surrounding the tomb, allowing for interreligious dialogue similar to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. They will all be con-nected through the tomb of St. John, who has been present through their readings.