Architecture

Apple Store designer envisions rebuilding Notre-Dame using glass

Apple Store designer envisions...
Eight Inc. envisions rebuilding the Notre-Dame's roof and spire just how it was – except using glass
Eight Inc. envisions rebuilding the Notre-Dame's roof and spire just how it was – except using glass
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Eight Inc. envisions rebuilding the Notre-Dame's roof and spire just how it was – except using glass
1/5
Eight Inc. envisions rebuilding the Notre-Dame's roof and spire just how it was – except using glass
As the proposal envisions structural glass, it wouldn't require a structural framework to hold it up
2/5
As the proposal envisions structural glass, it wouldn't require a structural framework to hold it up
It's certainly a striking looking proposal, but that said, it remains purely conceptual
3/5
It's certainly a striking looking proposal, but that said, it remains purely conceptual
Eight Inc. envisions rebuilding the Notre-Dame's roof and spire just how it was – except using glass
4/5
Eight Inc. envisions rebuilding the Notre-Dame's roof and spire just how it was – except using glass
The structural glass wouldn't break from a thrown stone or a hailstorm, for example
5/5
The structural glass wouldn't break from a thrown stone or a hailstorm, for example

Following the blaze that damaged the iconic Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, the French Prime Minister announced plans for an architecture competition and a modern redesign. We've since reported on one interesting proposal from Vincent Callebaut Architectures and now comes another, courtesy of Eight Inc., which envisions rebuilding the spire and roof using glass.

Eight Inc. proposes to restore the Notre-Dame's roof and spire back to its previous condition but using glass. All the decorative flourishes including statues would be recreated, and it would be illuminated at night, lending it a really striking appearance. According to Dezeen, the firm, which designed the original Apple Stores, proposes to make use of structural glass to allow it to be built without supports ruining the transparent effect.

Eight Inc. envisions rebuilding the Notre-Dame's roof and spire just how it was – except using glass
Eight Inc. envisions rebuilding the Notre-Dame's roof and spire just how it was – except using glass

The use of tough structural glass makes obvious sense and would mean that it shouldn't be damaged by deliberate vandalism like thrown stones, nor from a hailstorm, for example, though more significant challenges would be its weight, cost, and getting planning permission, not to mention its construction.

Such concerns seem beyond the scope of this proposal though, and as far as we know there are no plans to build it. And even if the architects decide take the project further, it still remains to be seen what form the Notre-Dame will eventually take.

In the months since the French government announced its design competition and five year deadline to rebuild the Notre-Dame cathedral, there has followed something of a backlash, including an open letter signed by over a thousand academics and curators arguing that more time should be taken. The French Senate then met and made a ruling to the effect that the cathedral must be restored to exactly how it was.

"I confirm that the French Senate has decided that the Cathedral has to be rebuilt as it looked just before the fire and that a report must be published if the constructor wants to change the materials used before the fire," a French Senate representative told New Atlas.

Talks have been held to see if a compromise can be reached between the Senate's demand for the cathedral to be restored to its original state and Macron's government wishing for an all-new design, but as of writing they have been unsuccessful.

Source: Eight Inc.

9 comments
TomWatson
I like this a lot. I have opposed rebuilding in masonary as the masters of long ago cannot be replicated accurately in their chiseling by hand, etc. beauty. Sure we can ink-jet something, but who wants too. This is dramatic, pretty and does not plagiarize the work of the masters long ago.
AmericanBadger
I do not like this idea at all for rebuilding damaged, iconic structures. It should be rebuilt to look like the original, but using modern materials and techniques. If you want cool, modern-looking buildings, then build cool, modern-looking buildings . . . from scratch.
lucius
The French Senate's ruling that Notre Dame cathedral must be restored to duplicate its pre-fire design is overly strict, and even from a historical perspective it doesn't make sense. Many medieval cathedrals took hundreds of years to build, and during the centuries-long construction process, design elements would change to suit the tastes of the current era. For example, there are cathedrals with two completely different spires on their western facing towers, and this was not part of the original plan, but due to that fact that the second tower was finished generations after the first, and the later masons had more "modern" ideas about the way the spire should look. For the French Senate to demand that the roof appear exactly as it was before is, oddly enough, an untraditional approach. While the French are considering the rebuild, I sincerely encourage them to grace the two western towers with real spires, at long last, which was surely the intent of Notre Dame's medieval designers. Great cathedrals were not meant to have truncated pylons as their facade. The spires were usually the last phase of the construction process, and when you see a cathedral without them, it is because the builders ran out of resources before they could complete them...
ljaques
I spit on the idea of modifying so important a piece of history like that simply disgusts me. I plead with the French people NOT to allow this to happen. Please put it back exactly the way it was built.
ChairmanLMAO
got to agree with tom. theres no way even the most skilled masons in the workd can replicate that old work. gone are the days of quality construction or anything. as if it's even possible to replicate this with modern building techniques.
Howe
Not a fan, rebuild it how is was, or put a slightly different approach, but still stone, NOT GLASS.
toyhouse
Hmm. Reminds me of the game, "which one of these things doesn't belong here",? From an artistic standpoint, it doesn't work for me. Sometimes, the difference in things works fantastically well. Here, it looks like one thing, bolted-on to something else. Like future world glued to the middle ages. In a worst case description; Franken-dame, lol. Sorry for the lame analogies. As pretty as the top is - it doesn't belong with the bottom. It looks forced. Hope that made sense. Some things of this kind, just don't work no matter how cool the idea is to some. As so many have already stated and to keep the war over design directions to a minimum, probably best to re-create what was already there and honor the past. No politics. No pandering to special interest groups with an agenda. Just a carbon copy. In a few decades, the fire and rebuild effort will be a foot-note in it's history,...like the last rebuild. In this modern era, we have more than enough talent to pull it off perfectly. It can be done.
jean55
J'aime vraiement l'idee du toit en verre sur structure métallique, ca permetterait de rendre le grenier attraillent; a la limite jardin botanique! La fleche a mon avie serait plus en valeur faite de beton et blocs taillés comme a l origine.
owlbeyou
If there had never been a fire, and a group proposed a radical design (like this) because it was in such a state of disrepair, you would expect all kinds of balking and cries of sacrilege. Now that a competition has been announced, design firms are lining up with proposals not so much because it's the best outcome of a tragedy, but probably because it would give them prestige. It's not a given that the public will approve of the rebuild either. Should it be done in a traditional method or something flashy, outrageous, modern?...Sacre bleu! Knowing the French, this issue will become emotional and controversial. Stay tuned.