On April 15, 2019, a devastating fire occurred at the infamous Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. The fire caused significant damage to the historic structure, which is a landmark in the city and a symbol of French Gothic architecture. The cathedral has been undergoing restoration works and is on course to reopen to the public in 2024. Throughout the process of restoration, its interior cleaning methodologies were debated, its carpentry was entirely replaced by medieval-skilled timber craftsmen, and the completion date for the cathedral is still on track for December 2024.
Notre Dame: The Latest Architecture and News
Notre Dame cathedral in Paris is on course to reopen to worshipers and the public in 2024, according to Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak’s statement on Thursday, almost three years after the devastating fire. In the statement, she noted that the clean-up phase of the restoration project is now completed, allowing rebuilding work to get underway. The 12th century cathedral is being restored to its previous design, including the 96-meter spire designed by architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc in the mid-1800s, for which new timber has been selected.
Notre Dame to Receive New Landscape Design: Bas Smets Wins Competition to Reimagine the Cathedral's Surroundings
In parallel with the restoration works underway at the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral, the city of Paris has launched a design competition to redevelop the cathedral’s surroundings. On June 27, the jury announced the team led by landscape designer Bas Smets as the winner of the competition. The project, planned to start in 2024, will reimagine the square and the underground parking spaces beneath it, including the archeological crypt, the Jean XXIII square located behind the cathedral, the Seine riverbanks, and the adjacent streets. This extensive project aims to bring Parisians back to the heart of Paris and welcome the 12 million visitors coming each year in better conditions.
As the restoration and rebuilding of Notre Dame Cathedral progress, heritage experts are faced with essential and sensible decisions regarding the future architectural expression of the elements that need replacing. The latest developments saw France’s National Heritage and Architecture Commission approving a contemporary take on the cathedral’s interior, involving a re-arrangement of the furniture items, as well as the inclusion of contemporary artworks and light projections. The proposal was put forward by the diocese of Paris as a way of creating a better visitor experience; however, critics of the decision argue that it would diminish the architectural value of the Gothic monument.
Notre Dame Update: Restoration Work Advances and US Students Rebuild One of Its Roof Trusses Using Medieval Techniques
With three more years to go until the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics and the re-opening date announced by French President Emanuel Macron, Notre Dame's restoration work progresses. After a long safety phase and months of work interruption last year due to the pandemic, all burned timber from the roof has been removed, and scaffolding has been installed inside the cathedral. As a homage to the heritage structure and "the collective effort to rebuild Notre Dame", the Catholic University of America is building a replica of one of the cathedral's roof trusses in Washington D.C., using medieval techniques.
The spire of the Notre Dame cathedral, destroyed during the fires of 2019, will be restored according to the original 19th-century Gothic design, as reported by French President Emmanuel Macron. Built in 1860, to replace the original structure removed in 1792, the spire, not exactly a medieval structure, was designed by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc who found inspiration in the original architectural epoch of the Cathedral.
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.
As 2019 winds down, the media has started its annual ritual of taking stock, compiling lists, looking back. In the architecture world, the year’s biggest news story was arguably the Notre-Dame fire. The image of the cathedral’s burning roof—a wrenching sight—filled TV and computer screens around the world and occasioned an outpouring of grief, especially in France, where the building holds a central place in the nation’s collective consciousness. It was an architectural tragedy as well as a cultural one. No doubt: the April inferno struck at the very heart of France.
Vietnam-based Bay Huynh Architects have created a proposal for an urban waterway as a new rooftop for Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Designed to explore the value of faith and society, the proposal comes after the Notre Dame fire in April this year. Called the Flowing Fish, the project aims to break the traditional notion of a church to create a "new ecosystem" for worship.
GoArchitect has announced designers Zeyu Cai and Sibei Li as the winners of The Peoples Notre-Dame Cathedral Design Competition. With 226 entries from 56 countries, the winning proposal was chosen by the public with over 30,000 people voting. The competition aimed to create a new vision for the future of the iconic cathedral after the Notre Dame fire in April this year. Called Paris Heartbeat, the winning design creates a literal heartbeat for the city.
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.
This article was originally published on Common Edge.
In recent months, two events have done more harm to the “brand” of architecture in the public’s perception than anything I’ve experienced in the 40 years that I have been in the profession.
First, there was the grand opening of New York City’s Hudson Yards, a massive $20 billion development on Manhattan’s far west side. This first phase opened after seven years of construction and included an obligatory gathering of “world class” architects—Kohn Pedersen Fox, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, SOM, The Rockwell Group—as well a folly by designer Thomas Heatherwick.
What could possibly go wrong?
The French Senate has stipulated that Notre-Dame cathedral must be restored exactly how it was before the major fire that damaged the landmark. As reported by French news site The Local, The French Senate approved the government’s restoration bill but added a clause that it must be restored to the state it was before the fire, seemingly ending the international competition planned by the French government for new ideas for the cathedral’s restoration.
One month on from the devastating fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, the architectural community as generated a bounty of responses focusing on the future of the landmark. While some have taken the opportunity to re-imagine the purpose of the monument, from urban farming to recreational parkland, others have focused on sensitive restoration.
Grand Prize: $1,000
Deadline: June 30 11:59PM PST
Winner Announced: July 31, 2019
On the evening of April 15th, 2019 the world held its breath as the Notre-Dame Cathedral was engulfed in flames. A few hours after the fire begun, the centuries-old cathedral had lost its entire roof, spire, and was severely damaged by the flames. Thankfully it was not completely destroyed and many priceless artifacts from the interior were saved.
Vincent Callebaut Architectures has unveiled images of their tribute to Notre-Dame Cathedral following the fire that badly damaged the historic structure. A transcendent project that forms a symbol of a resilient and ecological future, the project is inspired by biomimicry and a common ethic for a fairer symbiotic relationship between humans and nature.
This article was originally published on CommonEdge as "Notre-Dame and the Questions It Raises About Sacred Space."
Foster + Partners have joined a series of design offices that will enter the international competition to design a replacement spire for Notre Dame Cathedral. As reported by The Times, Foster has said that the new addition can be focused around "light" for the cathedral’s ruined roof. After the fire partially destroyed the iconic cathedral, France now aims to move forward with plans to renovate the iconic structure.