A Crucifix-Shaped Pool, Crystal Pyramid Spire and Other Restoration Ideas for Notre-Dame

President Emmanuel Macron did say he was open to a “contemporary gesture”

Notre Dame fire
A fire raged through the iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral in April. (Philippe Wang/ Getty)
By Ariel Scotti / May 15, 2019 12:29 pm

As the French government gets ready to launch an international design competition for the restoration of the Notre-Dame Cathedral, some unorthodox suggestions are beginning to roll in. French President Emmanuel Macron did say he was open to a “contemporary gesture” in rebuilding the famed structure “more beautiful than before,” after all.

In response, Stockholm-based Ulf Mejergren Architects (UMA) has drawn up plans for a crucifix-shaped pool to replace the caved-in portion of the church’s iconic roof while the French firm Studio NAB proposed a giant greenhouse to fit in the space.

“A cathedral is in our opinion not an isolated island in the urban fabric; it belongs to the city and to the people,” UMA said, according to The Guardian.

To mimic the once towering spire that collapsed during the April fire that tore through Notre-Dame for reasons still unknown, British architect Norman Foster is suggesting a pyramid-shaped spire in crystal and stainless steel.

“We’re not obliged to rebuild identically,” said architect Alexandre Chassang, who has designed a proposal for a glass spire.

The 12th century gothic cathedral’s forest roof and its 19th century spire may now be lost but some experts believe that it can — and should — be restored to its former glory.

“The restoration of Notre Dame should respect the techniques of the era in which it was built, with respect for the overall gothic harmony that comes from a combination of the humans who built it and the materials they used, stone, wood, iron and glass,” said master mason Florian Renucci. “We must respect the spirit of that work. The gothic period was a high point in architecture … if we do it right it will last another 1,000 years.”

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