On April 15, 2019, one of the most horrific fires of the year broke out when the roof of the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris went up in flames. The inferno lasted for around 15 hours as the world watched in terror. The fire completely destroyed the structure’s iconic spire that collapsed hours after the fire was initially noticed. Most of the wood/metal roof of the cathedral was also destroyed, with only about one-third of the roof remaining. The interior of the cathedral didn’t suffer extensive damage thanks to the stone-vaulted ceiling that largely contained the burning roof as it collapsed.
In the following days, French president Emmanuel Macron reassured the public that the cathedral could be restored and a fundraising campaign was quickly initiated to help fund the restoration (that could take up to 20 years or more). As of April 22, 2019, over €1 billion was collected.
On April 17, France announced their plans to host a competition to design a replacement spire for the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. French prime minister Edouard Philippe was reported saying that the government was looking for a fresh look “adapted to the techniques and the challenges of our era”. This prompted many architects and designers to power up their creative minds and conjure new images of the roof and the spire. From contemporary glass towers to Gothic stained glass windows, the entries so far offer a fresh reimagination of the classic. Scroll down below to see the designs and don’t forget to comment and vote for your favorites!
Here is the before and after the damage
Architect Vincent Callebaut’s vision draws the ideas of science, art, and spirituality together. The architect suggests uniting the cathedral’s nave, roof, and new spire in a project he titled ‘Palingenesis’, derived from the greek word for ‘rebirth’. It features a garden underneath a three-dimensional crystal glass canopy.”transparency, sharing, and openness to our society’s development: such are the ideas conveyed by this new, diaphanous forest of notre dame, outlining the new face of the church in the 21st century,” Callebaut explained his vision.
Studio NAB proposes a project that would turn the top of the cathedral into a greenhouse-like structure. The spire, in their vision could house a tower of beehives.
“Our Proposal for the new roof and spire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris: A Phoenix rises from the ashes. The spire, clad in sand cast copper panels, emerges from the blackened stainless steel roof supported by flame charred glulam trusses in remembrance of what was and what can become.”
“A proposal by summumarchi gives access to Notre Dame’s attic to make it a commemorative park, with purple colors in memory of the fire, while taking advantage of this enormous generosity of donations to make it a sanctuary for animals and insects even more threatened in cities. May this reconstruction serve the environment, and demonstrate to the rest of the world the knowledge of our French companions of how to deal with magnificent, technical, timeless architecture at the highest level possible. A symbol for future generations.”
Architect Norman Foster proposed turning the cathedral’s spire into a “super-slender needle touching heaven’s clouds”. It would give the structure more light, reflecting the contemporary architecture.
“This subject is very sensitive for reasons that are easily understood. The wood that the construction was made out of as well as its assemblages and age make it a remarkable and honorable creation. It is hard to imagine that there would be another option than rebuilding the identical roof structure and the roof by using all the documents we have. Just like the castle of Guédelon, that is being rebuilt using the knowledge of our ancestors, Notre-Dame de Paris could also become a huge open-air educational project. In a few decades, this tragic episode would fade and as a result we would have a brand new roof of the Cathedral. But if we think about it, would we really be satisfied with this result? What other pleasure would we find besides that of comforting us in the certainty that everything is eternal?”
“Our proposal for the restoration of the Notre Dame Cathedral is to use one element that it has the best, the stained glass.
Make all the cover in stained glass, including the tower, with transparency to the inner side, through the opening of the vaults, leaving only the structures flying buttresses.
In Gothic there is the connection of the earth to the sky, and inside the Cathedral, the natural illumination multiplies in colors through the filter of the cover in stained glass.
At night the inner illumination turns into a grandiose retro backlit coverage.”
“NOUVELLE DAME – Proposal for a new cover of Notre Dame, París”
“Upward motion, an idea of mine for Notre Dame’s spire”
“Today the French architecture board website reads, ’Heritage, ancient or contemporary, is a revealing and structuring element of our culture, and we must inculcate ourselves to keep alive these markers but also built today the markers of our time’.Ultimately, I trust in France’s cultural core and its decision makers to have the audacity to move forward while retaining The Lady’s timeless image. I can only hope the project will be humble but innovative, delicate, beautiful and engaged,created by highly skilled people around a common table.”
“Some say that we should rebuild the spire as it was originally. Others say that we should design a new one. So, let’s build a new one as it was… 8 days ago”
“A single element used, stained glass. No new architectural features, no intervention elements (redesign), no ego, no artistic aspirations.
The material specified for this, stained glass, is made of a high-tech glass produced by a renowned and traditional French factory. The glasses have sun protection, without changing the desired aesthetic.
The windows offer greater thermal comfort inside the Cathedral, greater natural light, reduces external noise.”
“It’s a tragedy. Nothing would ever return over 850 years of beauty, but it’s time to [rebirth] Notre-Dame. In Gothic times builders [tried] to reach the sky, Le Duc [tried] it also in 19th century and have come closer. Now it’s possible to make it happen. Lightweight crown that connects heaven with earth.”
What do you think?