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“ON THE ABSENCE OF THE ROOF”
Notre Dame has fallen. The fire has taken its most iconic element, the spire, following also the whole roof. Right after that, people all around the world, mostly architects, manage to contribute a lot of idea to replace the burned elements. The internet went crazy with all of these! Some of them agree to rebuild like it was, some of them agree to redesign it. Is it though? Or some of them agree to build nothing?
Viollet Le Duc had his own long process to restore the church. The highly complicated elements of gothic architecture mostly couldn’t deal with un-gothic elements. This will be a big constraint for the project. Even though we redesign it with most match images, it wouldn’t solve the problem in reality. On the other hand, even just to restore it to how it was seeming to be a fast and too easy decision for this. Isn’t the architect main duty being to create a signature in their own time?But, what if the answer right now is waiting?And build almost nothing?Waiting for a reconciliation between the pros and the cons. Waiting for a person, that genius enough, who have the same ingenuity as Le Duc, to replace destroyed elements with nowadays solution. But until that day has come, we shall wait.Paris had its own long history with the rise of aliens. Eiffel Tower that started as “the scar in the face of Paris” has transformed into the number one icon in this capital of France. The following half century, Renzo Piano with Richard Rogers did the same thing in Centre Pompidou. Also, the giant glass volume that erected in the heart of Musee Du Louvre by I M Pei. These three new elements became the icon of the new Paris.
It gives the new passage in the “monochrome frame” of the Parisian architecture. Lots of architects following the same idea for the roof replacement in Notre Dame. But Eiffel, Pompidou, and Louvre are monument and museum. Notre Dame are not. It’s one of the most sacred church in the world, and it’s unwise to just rebuild, redesign, or restore it without long process for the decision.What if we create a nothingness for waiting? Where people could absorb all the sadness, or even the euphoria post the fire. With the emptiness, everybody should reflect the memories of the building and always remember the unanswered question. May the people will take it as a deep condolence, about tragedy that happened, to this great beauty piece of work, on the absence of the roof.*Epilog: The architects may never found a solution in the future. Not with the mind of nowadays people that full with information and data. There isn't one person that focus enough to find a solution for the church without playing the new god as the internet. Maybe it’s inevitable, that Notre Dame will be gone one day.
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Elias Leimbacher Architektur GmbH