Architecture firm Gensler has unveiled a design for a temporary worship pavilion at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. Set to be located in Parvis Square, the temporary structure would be constructed primarily out of charred timber for added strength and durability. The proposal comes after the Notre Dame fire in April this year. The Pavillon Notre-Dame was designed to offer hope to Parisians and international visitors while the 850-year-old cathedral is being restored.
Conceived as a sheltered nave, the temporary structure was made to recall the structural rhythms and forms of the existing Gothic cathedral. With an ETFE cushion roof and walls made up of translucent polycarbonate, the temporary structure would be flooded with natural light, emphasizing the ethereal quality of the space whilst creating visual relief.
Duncan Swinhoe, Regional Managing Principal at Gensler, commented on the structure and materials, saying that, “Charred timber, which is one of the oldest and most effective methods of protecting wood from fire, also symbolizes that what once destroyed Notre-Dame will only serve to make it stronger thus expressing a language of rebirth and transformation. It is important that the design is true to, but doesn’t upstage, the cathedral. We wanted to strike a balance between a structure that invites the community yet can be transformed to become a reflective and spiritual haven when mass is celebrated.”
Replicated to the same dimensions as Notre-Dame to ensure familiarity, the temporary space has been designed to serve a multitude of functions, from religious services to exhibitions and markets to performance. Behind the altar, movable panels will be installed that will allow for a full view of Notre-Dame. The design also includes rotating panels at ground level that can be positioned to open or close the edge of the structure to mirror the configuration of the cathedral for mass services or be moved to open up the space for performances or as a marketplace.
News via Gensler