France's Prime Minister announces design competition to replace destroyed Notre-Dame spire
Following the devastating fire that damaged iconic Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral on Monday, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has revealed that authorities plan to launch an international architecture competition to replace its spire.
According to the BBC, French officials currently believe the fire could have started accidentally while the Gothic cathedral was undergoing restoration work. Its roof was ruined in the blaze and its spire destroyed, though its two bell towers and main stone structure survived intact thanks to the efforts of 400 firefighters.
Though the Notre-Dame de Paris is around 850 years old, the destroyed spire was actually a more recent addition and was installed during a 19th Century restoration.
While one might assume the French authorities would wish to simply recreate the spire as it was, the Prime Minister suggested on Twitter that the spire's replacement could be something more modern, writing that it could be "adapted to the techniques and challenges of our time," while also revealing plans to launch an international architecture competition for the replacement's design.
French President Emmanuel Macron has said he wants the Notre-Dame to be rebuilt "even more beautifully," and for the work to be completed within five years, which would be a very impressive achievement.
However long the reconstruction ends up taking, it's sure to cost a great deal of money and the French government has set up an official donation page with this in mind.
In the meantime, the Guardian reports that there are plans to build a temporary wooden cathedral in front of the Notre-Dame de Paris, similar to when Shigeru Ban created a "cardboard cathedral" in Christchurch, New Zealand.