Notre Dame Update: Restoration Works Suspended due to the Coronavirus Outbreak

Notre Dame Update: Restoration Works Suspended due to the Coronavirus Outbreak

Due to the global pandemic, restoration works of the Notre Dame in Paris have been paused. For security reasons, all operations have been halted by French officials. While the consolidation of the cathedral was completed, the reconstruction of the spire and the roof as well as the removal of the melted scaffolding, have been interrupted.

via Shuuterstock/ By Wirestock Imagesvia Shutterstock/ By Ligankov Alekseyvia Shutterstock/ By Ligankov Alekseyvia Shutterstock/ By Ligankov Aleksey+ 9

© Erieta Attali
© Erieta Attali

A year since the fire of Notre Dame, reconstruction works on the cathedral have been stalled for many reasons such as bureaucratic obstacles, bad weather and a high concentration of pollution inside of the church. The project and the complex building site is managed by General Jean-Louis Georgelin, appointed by the French president, with chief architect Philippe Villeneuve. With the first priority being the stability of the building, frames to support the 28 flying buttresses have been inserted, and damaged pillars have been reinforced. Supervised by the Italian architect Carlo Blasi and the French engineer Mathias Fantin, consolidation works are almost done.

Courtesy of Courtesy of Livioandronico2013
Courtesy of Courtesy of Livioandronico2013

Originally erected to restore the 19th-century spire, before the fire of last year, the melted scaffolding around the roof was initially planned to be removed starting March 23rd. Due to coronavirus related measures, the French authorities did not go through with the complicated process. The operation would have required workers to access the shell by ropes, to cut the melted tubes.

Built in 1860, to replace the original structure removed in 1792, the spire was not exactly a medieval structure. During the major restoration, Viollet-Le-Duc intended to create a higher spire that stands out in the city, inspired by the original architectural epoch of the Cathedral. Although Emmanuel Macron expressed his desire for a contemporary gesture, chief architect Philippe Villeneuve had revealed back in June, that the Viollet-le-Duc spire will be reconstructed as it was. Conservation communities also agree that the spire should be rebuilt according to traditional techniques, implementing the principles in the Charter of Venice. A final decision in July 2020 announced that the spire will be restored according to the original 19th-century Gothic design.

© Charles Marville / Library of Congress
© Charles Marville / Library of Congress

Another main challenge for the reconstruction process is the structure of the roof and the material for the new roof tiles. Recommendations on the techniques to be used elaborated by the National Commission for Architecture and Heritage will be transmitted to the Minister of Culture in July. No decision will be announced before. Surveyed in 2015 by architect Rémi Fromont and 3Dscanned by Art Graphique et Patrimoine, the structure of the cathedral is well documented.  

On another hand, restoration of the vaults hasn’t started yet, since experts are still testing their conditions. Stained glass windows, treasury, stalls, statuary, decor and fixtures have been removed and are being restored, while the three rose windows of the façades are being refurbished on site.

via Shutterstock/ By Georges Hanna
via Shutterstock/ By Georges Hanna

While official decisions were still undefined, the architectural community around the world had created its own future visions of the Notre Dame. For example, Studio NAB envisioned a greenhouse roof, Valentino Gareri imagined new domes with separate functions, Cent Alantar proposed the reimplementation of the spire surrounded by a glass roof, and Vincent Callebaut was inspired by biomimicry. Moreover, back in August 2019, The Peoples Notre-Dame Cathedral Design Competition selected designers Zeyu Cai and Sibei Li as the winners of the new spire design with over 30,000 votes.

News via The Art Newspaper.

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Cite: Christele Harrouk. "Notre Dame Update: Restoration Works Suspended due to the Coronavirus Outbreak" 21 Apr 2020. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/938052/notre-dames-update-restoration-works-suspended-due-to-the-coronavirus-outbreak> ISSN 0719-8884
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