Dr Nikolaos Karydis has been invited by the Faculty of Classics of the University of Oxford to present his recent work on the sixth-century Basilica B at Philippi, in Macedonia, Greece. Considered to have started in the first half of the sixth century, this major building was probably never completed; i.e. as Paul Lemerle demonstrated in 1945, the collapse of the vaults during construction must have brought a premature end to the history of this building. Lemerle attributed this collapse to a defective structure; walls and supports failed to provide sufficient support for the vaults. However, Lemerle and other scholars remain silent as to the reasons why such an ambitious building programme was to be marred by such a structural deficiency. Karydis’ work seeks to fill this lacuna. Based on a new interpretation of overlooked construction details, it provides new evidence for a previously unknown building phase. Challenging Lemerle’s perception of Basilica B as a static architectural form, Karydis has revealed older constructional layers indicative of a more complex building history. This helps to interpret the difficulties and limitations that the architects of Basilica B encountered in their effort to construct one of the first domed basilicas in Early Byzantine Greece.
For further information about this event, please click here.
This lecture, taking place today from 2.00 – 2.30pm in the Digital Crit Space, looks at the impact-related conservation workshop organised by Nikolaos Karydis on the island of Lesvos in Greece. Following the earthquakes the hit the island in 2017, this workshop aimed to familiarise local conservation professionals with the island’s vernacular structures and their impressive earthquake behaviour. The latter had been analysed in Karydis’ book Eresos (2003) as well as in his recent paper of 2015. Despite these publications, Lesvos’ architects and engineers were not familiar with these structures and their earthquake-resistant qualities. The workshop was an opportunity to make Karydis’ new research available to these professionals. It also raised awareness of the dangers of the use of cement and reinforced concrete in the repair of these stone and timber structures. At first, local engineers were reluctant to abandon these incompatible methods. Still, during the workshop, most of the participants were convinced that these structures can be repaired with natural materials following the building logic of Lesvos’ vernacular buildings. This helped to develop a new attitude to the historic structures of Lesvos and their future preservation.
On Friday 11 May, Dr Karydis gave a lecture at Trinity College, University of Oxford. Entitled ‘Visualising Justinian’s Church of the Holy Apostles at Constantinople’, the lecture presented Karydis’ work on the church of the Holy Apostles, which will be published in a forthcoming Dumbarton Oaks volume. Other lectures Karydis delivered during this academic year included a paper on Early Byzantine Architecture at the Institut National de l’Histoire de l’Art in Paris (30/10/2017), and a lecture on 19th-Century, Greek Revival Architecture at the National Technical University of Athens (12/1/2018). A video recording of this lecture can be found through the following link: http://www.blod.gr/lectures/Pages/viewspeaker.aspx?SpeakerID=4982
On Tuesday 27 March, Dr Karydis will give a talk about the construction, mechanics, and science of Gothic cathedrals. This talk will take place at Canterbury Cathedral and is conceived as a focused introduction, and source of inspiration, for historians, literary scholars, art historians and beyond working broadly on the middle ages and early modern period in Europe (including the British Isles). This talk has been commissioned by Birkbeck, University of London and forms part of a CHASE training programme entitled ‘Network: The Matter of the Archive before 1700’.
Image: Study of Gothic Vaulting, Nikolaos Karydis, 2006.
Dr Nikolaos Karydis, director of the MSc Programme in Architectural Conservation, visited the island of Lesvos, to study the behaviour of vernacular structures in the recent earthquake (6.3R). There, he discovered the use of an advanced earthquake-resistant system. This discovery has major implications for the forthcoming repair of historic buildings on Lesvos. Preliminary research findings are summarised in the article published on 3 August in Greece’s “Journalists’ Newspaper” (Εφημερίδα των Συντακτών).
[Feature picture by wehunts. CC BY-SA 2.0. Cropped from original.]
The students of the MSc in Architectural Conservation have worked under the direction of Dr. Nikolaos Karydis on the restoration of the Regency Dockyard church in Sheerness-on-sea. Designed by George Ledwell Taylor in the 1820s, and one of the few remaining historic dockyard churches in the UK, this monument was tragically destroyed by fire in 2001. The students’ work on the restoration of the building reveals its significance and shows how to recapture it.
Dr Nikos Karydis will be giving a talk entitled ‘New Design in the History Centre of Canterbury’ as part of The Canterbury Trust on Wednesday 1st June at 7.30PM at the Friends Meeting House, the Friars.
How can cities such as Canterbury achieve a sympathetic balance between old and new? The design of new buildings that adapt harmoniously to the historic context plays a key role in the preservation of the character of historic neighbourhoods.
This talk will be given by Dr Nikolaos Karydis, who is the Director of the MSc in Architectural Conservation at the University of Kent and a practising architect. His illustrated talk will analyse some of the key elements in the ‘contextual’ approach to place-making, such as:
- The role of new developments in the scale and structure of the city
- The contribution of new architecture to urban frontages
- The impact of new buildings on the urban scene
- The role of building materials and their contribution to the character of an area
Different approaches will be assessed with reference to possible interventions in different parts of Canterbury. Analysing these approaches helps to establish design methods that enable architects, designers and planners to enhance the historic environment.
Dr Nikolaos Karydis gave a lecture on “New Design within the Historic Environment” in the conference “Interpreting Historic Folkestone”, organised by Townscape Heritage Initiative and Canterbury Archaeological Trust in Folkestone on 4 March 2016. The lecture investigated the design methods and practices for the adaptation of new buildings to historic towns, with particular emphasis on Kent. This forms part of a series of research outreach activities that aim to inform the future development of Folkestone.
Dr Nikolaos Karydis will give a lecture on “New Design within the Historic Environment” on the 29th of October, at 2:45pm. The lecture investigates the design methods and practices for the adaptation of new buildings to historic towns, and is part of the workshop “Development in the Historic Environment”, organised by Canterbury Archaeological Trust and Folkestone Townscape Heritage Initiative. The workshop will take place at The Quarterhouse, 49 Tontine Street, Folkestone, Kent.
Dr. Nikolaos Karydis is giving a lecture on Thursday 5th March at 11am-1pm in the Cornwallis Octagon, Lecture Theatre 3. Refreshments will be provided and everyone is welcome to attend.
Architectural Encounters between Byzantium and Islam from the 10th to the 13th Century
Dr. Nikolaos Karydis, University of Kent
The artistic relations between Byzantium and Islam from the 10th to the 13th century transcended the cultural and religious boundaries between the two cultures. Our awareness of these relations is essential to understand the development of monumental architecture in Southern Europe during this period. A comparative analysis of a wide range of monuments reflects a stream of architectural influences between Byzantium and Islam that flowed in both directions. Indeed, combinations of Islamic and Byzantine themes occur in cultures as different and distant as the ones of Moorish Andalusia and Byzantine Greece. But, such architectural fusions are not only encountered in Islamic and Byzantine territories. They also occur in the architecture of the Venetian Republic and the Norman Kingdom of Sicily. The rise of these two powers is marked by the development of hybrid, and highly inventive architectural languages that incorporate the best elements of Byzantine and Islamic architecture, confirming the aesthetic compatibility between them.
This lecture revisits some of the key monuments of Andalusia, Italy and Greece in order to identify those architectural motifs and construction techniques that the one culture borrowed from the other. Particular emphasis is put on the design and constructional methods used to combine Islamic and Byzantine architectural elements in different contexts and on the modifications which the two cultures introduced into the elements they borrowed. The architectural forms studied in the lecture show that the exchange of ideas between Byzantium and Islam was extremely fertile, producing unique architectural forms. Cross-cultural interaction seems to have renewed previous architectural traditions, infusing new life and symbolic content in them.