Following the fire that devastated France's iconic Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, several firms have stepped forward with ideas to restore it, including Vincent Callebaut and Eight Inc. Gensler has now unveiled its own design for a temporary church nearby that could be used during the painstaking restoration process.
If the project goes ahead – and there's no suggestion that it's anything other than a proposal at this stage – the Pavillion Notre-Dame would be located in the cathedral's Parvis Square and be partly constructed out of charred timber. It would be topped by an ETFE cushion roof and have walls made from translucent polycarbonate, allowing lots of natural light inside.
"Charred timber, which is one of the oldest and most effective methods of protecting wood from fire, also symbolizes that what once destroyed Notre-Dame will only serve to make it stronger thus expressing a language of rebirth and transformation," says Duncan Swinhoe, Regional Managing Principal at Gensler.
"It is important that the design is true to, but doesn't upstage, the cathedral. We wanted to strike a balance between a structure that invites the community yet can be transformed to become a reflective and spiritual haven when mass is celebrated. We hope this offers the people of Paris, and the world, a statement of hope and rebirth."
Interestingly, the interior dimensions of the Pavillion Notre-Dame would be the same as the Notre-Dame cathedral itself in an effort to provide a feeling of familiarity. The interior would also be flexible, with removable panels behind the altar offering a view of the Notre-Dame de Paris and rotating wall panels allowing the house of worship to be converted into a market place or performance space if required.
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