Jemma Chidiac Architects


Lebanon , 2022

The cemetery is a physical written memorial reporting a history, a trace of memory. (Lumieux 1985). It is an archive of tangible memories given to the living. Greek Orthodox cemeteries in Lebanon have seen various typologies that questioned the geographical, historical, social and economic factors that affected its planning. Urban cemeteries celebrated the participation of the deceased equally with the living claiming the right to be part the city.

In early Christianity, Christian believers would gather around the church as a safety shelter from all evil; therefore, identifying the church, ecclesia, as the epicenter of all Christian settlings. Anfeh is recognized by the its monolithic manmade landscapes from the coastal sea to the eastern mountains.

As burials increase in number, the exploitation of built form increases diminishing the natural landscape.

 “So it will be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown in a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.”- 1 Corinthians 15:42-45


In early Christianity, the church, ecclesia, was identified as the epicenter of all Christian settlings. In claiming the right to be part of living, the burials rotate around the epicenter joining the living in celebration of LIFE.


As we lose a close member, the soul which once parted with the physical body, leaves into resurrection; an absence, THE VOID, a state of the unknown.


As a person approaches the site, the line bounds the visual towards the burials allowing the person to pace through the natural landscape towards the epicenter. The line becomes the director of landscape scenography descending through the void, the absence of form, then to transcend to the church then the reception hall.


Between the lines, the landscape propagates in cohesion with the built form allowing for informal social meeting point to arise; an extension from the reception hall to the court, a connection between the void and the burials….


As we glorify the landscape as a place of meditation, the burial roofs are flourished with flowerbeds allowing green spaces for visitors to interact and plant their favorite seeds. While the plants grow, a collective monolithic landscape embosses resonating on Anfeh man-made landscapes. 

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