On April 15th, the world lost an irreplaceable heritage to the fire that broke out inside Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris. The fire which caused considerable damage to the structure resulted in complete destruction of the cathedral's iconic spire and its roof.
In the wake of this event, architects from all around the world have rounded up to deliver their concepts within a design competition that France's Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced. However, this time, France wants a new spire that is adapted to the techniques and the challenges of our era.
With this in mind, it's no surprise to see that most of the designs were modern, unique, and sometimes shocking. The following five are some of the most interesting proposals we have seen so far:
São Paolo-based AJ6 Studio has proposed a design they inspired by the gothic architectural style of Notre-Dame. They have fully relied on a special element: stained glass to design both the spire and the roof. Ultimately, that would create a dreamy night scenery as the lights from within the cathedral illuminate the top.
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., said Alexandre Fantozzi of AJ6 Studio.
Foster + Partners
Architect Norman Foster, most famous for designing The Gherkin in London was also among the participants. His proposal is more about light, that is to build the spire and roof entirely from glass and steel, turning the cathedral's spire into a super-slender needle touching heaven's clouds.
According to him, his modern design that uses the most advanced building technology of the age bears no resemblance to the original of the 19th century. He, however, described the decision to reconstruct Notre-Dame as an acknowledgment of that tradition of new interventions.
The French design studio has proposed yet the most radical solution out there. In their sustainable design, they transformed the roof into an educational greenhouse, recycling the burnt oak framework to create the planters inside. On the other hand, they turned the spire into an apiary housing hundreds of beehives.
The studio argued that their concept is to create an educational center to train the underprivileged in urban agriculture. To them, the design is anchored in its time, turned towards the future, and representing the stakes of our time.
Another glass roof by Alexander Nerovnya, but with a traditional spire design that resembles the original gothic style. Nerovnya shares the same futuristic opinion of his architect counterparts, expressing that Notre-Dame will never be the same, no matter how well it's repaired. So why don't we use all our knowledge and architectural achievement to make it better?
This very controversial design concept is by French architect Mathieu Lehanneur. With this, he proposed to replace the fallen spire by a golden sculpture of a massive burning flame.
I love this idea of a frozen moment in history that can remain for centuries. The project is a monumental permanent flame covered with golden leaves. For me, it's a way to capture the catastrophe and turn it into beauty, turning ephemeral into permanency., said Lehanneur in a conversation with Dezeen Magazine.
Until this very moment, there have been many design proposals with different visions for the future of Notre-Dame. Nevertheless, to redesign a cultural monument with a history reaching back hundreds of years remains a historic responsibility that we should tackle very carefully.
What's your impression of the above five proposals? Tell us in the comments!
Do you wish to participate but still unfamiliar with how competitions work? Our design contests will give you a slight idea! :)