Architecture

France's Prime Minister announces design competition to replace destroyed Notre-Dame spire

France's Prime Minister announ...
French President Emmanuel Macron said he wants the Notre-Dame to be rebuilt "even more beautifully," and for the work to be completed within five years (Credit: CC 2.0/Flickr user Klovovi)
French President Emmanuel Macron said he wants the Notre-Dame to be rebuilt "even more beautifully," and for the work to be completed within five years (Credit: CC 2.0/Flickr user Klovovi)
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French President Emmanuel Macron said he wants the Notre-Dame to be rebuilt "even more beautifully," and for the work to be completed within five years (Credit: CC 2.0/Flickr user Klovovi)
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French President Emmanuel Macron said he wants the Notre-Dame to be rebuilt "even more beautifully," and for the work to be completed within five years (Credit: CC 2.0/Flickr user Klovovi)

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.

Sources: Twitter, French Government

5 comments
guzmanchinky
Hmmm, I guess changing it a bit would be historically correct in that it's exactly what previous generations did. I do hope they don't go modern, I want it to stay in theme with the feel of the building. The French can be funny when it comes to architecture sometimes...
Grunchy
I’d put a Louvre greenhouse pyramid up there, or maybe a Devo energy hat type of structure. If I was a citizen of France I would protest the project vigorously against having any public involvement.
owlbeyou
Good point Guzman. There's a debate about rebuilding the roof with modern materials that are not visible, like plywood and engineered lumber, and I don't have a problem with that, but putting up a modern spire can be sacrilege. We'll see what becomes of this competition. Even though the French don't go to church much anymore, this iconic cathedral tugs at their heartstrings. It was full of tourists mostly. I had the privilege to be there to marvel in its beauty. The fire this week was a shock to many people around the world, not just Christians. Also, there was apparently a lot (250 tons?) of lead for roofing material. I would imagine that there's big blobs of molten lead somewhere down there at the base.
BartyLobethal
The replacement should both reference the original and be sufficiently different from it to be noticeable at a glance. A chintzy Las Vegas 'replica' would be sadder than any post-modern oddity.
Nik
Whatever they put up it needs to be fireproof, and at the same time install a sprinkler system in the rest of the building. Just think how much greater the disaster would have been if the building had been crammed with people for a special event! As it was they were lucky, as most of their treasured items had been removed to safety before the fire. A very lucky coincidence. My suspicions that the Vatican wouldn't be footing the bill from its millions, have been confirmed.