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What came first? Architect or the egg.

What came first? Architect or the egg

The issue is not whether the egg came before the chicken, or vice-versa, but why the domes and arches of hundreds of Byzantine monuments in the Republic of Cyprus were shaped after the egg.

Architect Steven P. Papadatos of New York City discussed this phenomena and the logic behind recently in a lecture "Significant Architectural Treasures of Cyprus" at the Alexander S. Onassis Center at New York University's Randolph Sommerville Theater. The demonstration was carried out via a series of slides depicting eggs impacted on their long sides and suffering do damage.

In explaining why the egg-shaped domes of the Cyprus churches are more durable and resist the destruction of major earthquakes, Papadatos compared the structural integrity of the domes, pendentives and buttress to the modern hi-rise structures and how modern engineering can be improved by the simple application of age-old design concepts.

The distinguished lecturer/architect drew a comparison with those churches spread across the Balkans (including Greece) and the Middle East with the well known parabolic form which is quite known in the United States and is capable of creating large open spaces. In addition, Papadatos stated that probably the most significant achievement in reinforced concrete engineering was the development of long span vaults, by the Zeiss Dywidag System, shown at the century-old Progress Exposition in 1934. "An excellent example is at our door step, Papadatos says, the Municipal Asphalt Plant for the Borough of Manhattan at the F.D.R. Drive which was designed by Kahn and Jacobs in 1941, which has similar design characteristics to the architecture of Cyprus".

Concentrating on the church of Saint Lazarus built in ancient Salinas, today's major Cypriot city of Larnaca, the architect described in detail its original style as well as the additions over the centuries, which include a Gothic Arcade and a Venetian Bell Tower. He backed his talk with a rich array of slides which colorfully depict the interior as well as the exterior of the church. He explained that he drew all this information from a book he is currently writing titled Significant Architectural Treasures of Cyprus. The book idea incidentally was an inspiration that was developed after an extensive journey to Cyprus.

PHOTO : Saint Lazarus Church in Cyprus
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Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jun 5, 1991
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