Photo: anyaivanova/Shutterstock

France Announces Competition to Redesign Notre Dame’s Fallen Spire

News Art + Architecture
by Eben Diskin Apr 18, 2019

Now that Notre Dame’s fire is extinguished and the art pieces it contained are safe and being restored, speculation is rampant on how and when the structure will be rebuilt.

France isn’t wasting much time — a competition has already been announced for international architects to offer their visions for the cathedral’s new spire. Obviously, questions abound on what the spire should look like and are likely to divide Parisians. “The international competition will allow us to ask the question of whether we should even recreate the spire as it was conceived by Viollet-le-Duc, or, as is often the case in the evolution of heritage, whether we should endow Notre Dame with a new spire. This is obviously a huge challenge, a historic responsibility,” French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe explained.

The spire that was destroyed by the fire wasn’t the cathedral’s original, 850-year-old spire. It was designed by Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc during a 19th-century restoration.

French President Emmanual Macron promised to rebuild the cathedral “beautifully” within five years, a time frame that experts deem unreasonably short. Encouragingly, however, nearly $1 billion in donations has already been pledged for reconstruction efforts, and structural engineers, stained-glass experts, and stonemasons from around the world are soon expected to head to Paris to help with the restoration.

Even French airlines are doing their part. In a statement, Air France said, “Air France will provide free transport for all official partners involved in the reconstruction of Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris.”

Whether it takes five years as Macron hopes, or longer, worshippers will be welcomed at a wooden “ephemeral cathedral” in the meantime. This temporary place of worship will be located in front of Notre Dame, and will be designed to give people a place to gather and pray until Notre Dame reopens. Monseigneur Patrick Chauvet, Notre Dame’s chief priest, said that the new cathedral would be built quickly, as soon as the esplanade reopens.

H/T: The Guardian

Discover Matador