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'Eggupation' breeds revolutionary thinking in Beirut

The reputation of the Egg, a cinema in downtown Beirut, has gone from an eyesore to an incubator for new thinking.

A reminder of a war-torn past, an eyesore, a concrete landmark to unfulfilled promises and broken dreams. For people who grew up in Beirut, even a fleeting glimpse of the infamous dome-like structure next to Martyrs’ Square evoked feelings of discontent and anger. Then came the revolution.

In 1965, the architect Joseph Philippe Karam received the commission to build a cinema in downtown Beirut as part of the first shopping mall in the Middle East. When the civil war broke out in 1975, construction on the project came to a halt, leaving the egg-shaped theater unfinished and condemned to more than a decade of brutal urban-warfare and decay. 

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