Culture

New Design Ideas For Notre Dame Are Here And… Just Wow

The world stopped and watched as the Notre Dame in the heart of Paris went up in flames on April 15, 2019. An instantly recognisable building that so many have memories of visiting was irreparably damaged, its roof and spire collapsing into a fiery heap.

After hours, French firefighters were able to save much of the structure and the well known bell towers (and the bees that lived atop the cathedral), however the gaping hole running the full length of the building felt much like the gaping hole in many travellers’ hearts.

But! The French government has pledged to rebuild the Notre Dame cathedral, and more than a billion Euros have been pledged from companies and individuals across the globe for the reconstruction efforts. French President Emmanuel Macron set an ambitious completion goal of five years – meaning the cathedral would be reconstructed in time for the 2024 Paris Olympics – and invited design companies to submit creative concepts for the rebuilding of Notre Dame.

The responses have been… diverse, to say the least. While traditionalists would have the roof rebuilt as it was before the fire, some designers are seeing this as an opportunity for new and controversial ideas, some of which are really something. Check out these interesting concepts for the cathedral’s reconstruction.

#1 Geometric glass and garden

 

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The above design is by Vincent Callebaut Architectures, named “Palingenesis” (Greek for rebirth) features a “biosourced” spire and striking geometry of glass over a wooden frame, all containing a beautiful garden.

#2 Rooftop swimming pool

notre dame reconstruction UMA: Ulf Mejergren Architects

This concept from Ulf Mejergren Architects has declared the cathedral actually now looks better without its roof and spire, and have suggested a rooftop swimming pool for added “joie de vivre” in the city centre. No word on how many Parisians will swim in Paris’ icy winters.

#3 A new penthouse for Quasimodo

Riffing off the protagonist of Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, Who Cares?! Design (yes that’s the company’s name) offers this très modern take on the cathedral roof, with a penthouse apartment, helipad and rooftop garden for Quasimodo. Jury’s out on who exactly gets to live there, given Quasimodo both lived in 1831 and is fictional.

#4 An apiary and greenhouse

 

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This is a similarly glassy and ecological redesign of Notre Dame, adding a towering spire. Studio NAB really ran with the whole bees thing and loaded up their version of the spire with beehives.

#5 Stained glass ceiling

 

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While this one is on theme, connecting visually with the famous Notre Dame rose windows (which survived the fire), it may lose points for practicality. Stained glass lining the entire roof of the cathedral is certainly a colourful approach.

While it’s yet to be seen whether any of these designs are actually feasible, acceptable to the French Government, or just out there to attract attention (looking at you, rooftop swimming pool), it’s safe to say we’ll find out soon. Gotta meet that five-year timeline.

(Lead image: Ulf Mejergren Architects)