Architecture

Vincent Callebaut envisions sustainable restoration of Notre-Dame cathedral

Vincent Callebaut envisions su...
The proposal, named Palingenesis, would include significant sustainable technology
The proposal, named Palingenesis, would include significant sustainable technology
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Following the devastating fire that recently damaged the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, local firm Vincent Callebaut Architectures has unveiled its vision for its restoration
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Following the devastating fire that recently damaged the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, local firm Vincent Callebaut Architectures has unveiled its vision for its restoration
The proposal, named Palingenesis, would include significant sustainable technology
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The proposal, named Palingenesis, would include significant sustainable technology
Palingenesis would add a large glazed roof to Notre-Dame
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Palingenesis would add a large glazed roof to Notre-Dame
Palingenesis would include a garden area for quiet contemplation
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Palingenesis would include a garden area for quiet contemplation
Palingenesis' roof would produce electricity and offer lots of natural light inside
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Palingenesis' roof would produce electricity and offer lots of natural light inside
Architectural drawing of Palingenesis
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Architectural drawing of Palingenesis
Architectural drawing of Palingenesis
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Architectural drawing of Palingenesis
Architectural drawing of Palingenesis
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Architectural drawing of Palingenesis
Architectural drawing of Palingenesis
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Architectural drawing of Palingenesis

Following the devastating fire that damaged the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral last month, local firm Vincent Callebaut Architectures has unveiled its vision for the iconic building to be restored. The firm imagines it being topped by a new glass roof and a spire, and for it to receive a significant sustainable upgrade.

The concept – and to be clear it is only a concept, not a definite plan – is named Palingenesis and brings to mind NYC's St. Patrick's Cathedral, which recently received an AIA award for its sustainable makeover.

While the undamaged parts of the building look essentially the same, Callebaut radically reimagines the upper areas destroyed in the fire. His proposal would create a new spire and wooden frame made from CLT (cross-laminated timber) beams, with carbon fiber slats. Covering the building would be a complex glazed roof that allows for lots of natural light inside, incorporates ventilation, and features advanced solar panel-like tech that turns sunlight into electricity.

"From the four gables, the original geometry of the 10 m (32 ft)-high attic has been respected," says Callebaut. "As we move towards the transept cross, its triangular section and steep, 55-degrees pitched roofs gradually stretch to shape a vertical spire.

"The new wooden frame is covered with a three-dimensional crystal glass dress subdivided into faceted diamond-shaped elements. These crystals consist of an organic active layer, made of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen, which absorbs light and transforms it into power. This energy, stored in hydrogen fuel cells, will be directly redistributed throughout the cathedral."

Palingenesis would include a garden area for quiet contemplation
Palingenesis would include a garden area for quiet contemplation

Elsewhere in the cathedral would be a large garden devoted to contemplation and meditation. A farm would also be installed in planters, with an integrated system of aquaponics and permaculture.

According to the firm, the farm could produce up to 25 kg (55 lb) of fruit and vegetables per sq m (3.2 sq ft) per year, allowing up to 21 tons of food to be harvested each year. This could then be given away to Parisians who need it most.

Source: Vincent Callebaut Architectures

12 comments
guzmanchinky
Part of me is "oh no, it must look like it used to!" and part of me is "that looks pretty nice"
TonyB
This is a magnificent restoration, blending the old and new into something that will retain the best of the old with a brighter topping. Just rebuilding what was is creating a fake.
MaNo
Whatever one thinks about the aesthetics, it's a very silly idea to have any sort of garden above the vaulting, plants and trees have to be watered! Bad idea!
lucius
It is an ingenious and beautiful design, and I have no qualms about its modernity, as cathedrals have often incorporated the stylistic elements of different eras during their centuries-long construction process. Now that architects are proposing solutions for the new roof of Notre Dame, I think it would great if spires for the western towers were also added. Medieval cathedral builders intended the facades to have spires, not truncated pylons. The usual reason for cathedrals to lack spires was not due to design considerations but simply that the builders exhausted their resources before they were able to complete the structure.
ljaques
France, don't you freakin' DARE do that. Put it back the way it was, exactly, please. It is art. It is architecture. And it is history. Don't mess with those.
Kiffit
I think the nineteenth century wooden tower come crashing down, it suddenly struck me what an ugly & inappropriate brute it was. What I like about the new concept design is that paradoxically it allows the old building to more clearly state its architectural case by getting modern leverages that give it a mediaeval iconography that just wasn't technically possible in the 12th century.....
TomLeeM
IMO; it is a historical building and should be restored to what it was and not something to update.
David V
Having lived in Paris for a time some years go, I was surprisingly very affected by this disaster. I've been watching all these proposals popping up since the fire in various architecture and design sites and newsletters. Some interesting, some just a waste of energy. Most seem to want to change the church into something that it isn't. Because it is after all, a place of worship for many and a place for National communal gatherings. It is not an amusement park. It is not an art gallery. It is not bling. I am not a believer myself but this landmark must retain a certain humility. This last "concept" - a happy few wandering across a garden above the rooftops of Paris ? The roof and spire have totally taken over the building. Have the "conceptors" even thought about the number of people who will want to walk across these gardens ? The most visited monument in France. No. They have been consumed by their own ego. Notre Dame doesn't have to be rebuilt exactly as it was. We have moved on. But this is not the path however ingenious and beautiful it seems.
owlbeyou
Only three weeks have passed and architects are already lining up with their proposals to restore the cathedral? This is not a restoration it's a renovation, or more so, a modification, and it's an over-the-top one as well. DavidV has already mirrored my similar views. I seriously doubt (and hope) that the French will accept this proposal. It's gaudy and clashes with all the surroundings of beautiful Paris. I have no doubt that if this concept gets any traction, it will be a focus of contention for many Parisians and the French in general.
DFrancis
Of the handful or so proposals I've seen so far, this Vincent Callebaut is probably my favourite. Second being the design by Miysis Studio.