This academic year, SPAB (Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) has given our MSc Architectural Conservation students the opportunity to work on a live restoration project of St. Andrew’s Chapel, near Boxley Abbey, Maidstone.
Programme Director, Dr Nikolaos Karydis writes, “Built in the 15th and the 16th century and modified in the 19th century, the ‘chapel’ is currently in an advanced state of decay. SPAB are currently surveying the building with the view to restore it and our students visited the site several times and were guided by SPAB specialists. SPAB Director Matthew Slocombe introduced the Society’s work and project officer Jonny Garlick surveyed the building with the students and gave us an unforgettable tour of Boxley Abbey, focusing on previous SPAB repair work.
During the Spring Term, the students will prepare a conservation plan, engaging in tasks that reflect their individual backgrounds. Those with an architectural background have the option to design the adaptation of the building into a new use. Students with backgrounds in other fields have several options which include researching the building’s history, analysing its significance and drafting conservation strategies. The resulting work will be submitted to the SPAB with the aim to contribute to the future conservation of this magnificent building.”
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Dr Nikolaos Karydis, Senior Lecturer and MSc Architectural Conservation programme director at Kent School of Architecture and Planning recently gave a lecture titled, ‘The lost gateway of early modern Rome: the development of the port of Ripa Grande from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century’ at the British School at Rome on 2 December 2019. The lecture explored the development of the Ripa Grande, the main river port of Rome during the Early Modern period. Find out more about the lecture here.
This year’s annual Gravett Award event took place on Friday 24 May in the Digital Crit Space. The Gravett Award, created by The Kent Historic Buildings Committee, a specialist unit of CPRE Kent, is given to a BA (Hons) Architecture student at Kent School of Architecture and Planning (KSAP) for the best observational drawing or drawings of existing buildings or structures produced during this academic year.
The award is named after Kenneth Gravett (1930-1999), an archaeologist, who, through his exceptional study and knowledge of historic buildings, has left an outstanding record of Kentish building vernacular. The prize is designed to encourage students to record existing buildings by hand-drawing, either in perspective or orthographic drawings, or sketches. The judging panel for this year’s Gravett award included the distinguished conservation architects Clive Bowley, Ptolemy Dean and Stuart Page.
This year, the competition was carried out as part of the BA (Hons) Architecture Stage 1 module, ‘Ancient and Medieval Architecture’, convened by Dr Nikolaos Karydis. One of the assignments in this module asks students to visit and draw a Norman building in Kent. The following eight students were shortlisted: Victoria Dolfo, Ayako Seki, Felicity Pike, Nuriye Celik, Rebecca Jilks, Alexandra-Stefania Barbu, Matthew Manganga and Michael Zapletal.
The winner of this year’s award is Ayako Seki who will be formally presented with the award at this year’s End of Year Show on 14 June 2019.
Dr. Nikolaos Karydis has been invited by the Faculty of History of the University of Warsaw to present his recent reconstruction of the lost church of the Holy Apostles at Constantinople. This was one of the most influential Byzantine churches. Its use as a model for the church of San Marco in Venice has been well documented. However, we know very little about the origins of the church of the Holy Apostles itself. This is largely due to the fact that this church no longer exists and its form has mainly been studied through Middle Byzantine descriptions. Based on a new interpretation of these records, Karydis’ recent visualisation of the church of the Holy Apostles provides a new base for investigating its origins. The key to establishing these origins lies in the comparison of Justinian ‘Apostoleion’ with the coeval church of St. John at Ephesos. This comparison sheds light on the stream of architectural influences between Constantinople and the provinces. It also helps to gain a better sense of the development of the type of the cruciform domed basilica during the first half of the sixth century.
The lecture is part of the Faculty of History’s ‘Late Antique Seminar’ and is intended to open the conference ‘Clerics in Church and Society’. Further information about the event can be found in here.
Image: Justinian’s Church of the Holy Apostles: Reconstructed Section by Nikolaos Karydis
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.