Notre-Dame Design Competition

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Linh Le, Hejia Jin

ID: 404

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ID: 404
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The world gazed at social media and live reports with shock as the roof of the Notre Dame in Paris burned down on the 15th of April. The cathedral in the heart of Paris dates back to the 12th century and was the location of various defining historic events. Being one of the architectural icons of France, the fire truly affected the people of Paris, many who stood near the cathedral praying and singing for a building that is so loved by its people. Merely days after, 900 Million Euros were donated to the reconstruction project. The catastrophe kindled international discussions regarding the reconstruction of the roof. Should it be rebuilt as it was before to respect the cultural heritage, or should new forms and materials be considered in order to combine history with modern values and technological developments of recent times? Many studios pitched in some controversial proposals within the first weeks after the fire. We noticed a trend towards designs, that drastically opens up the roof by using mainly glass, creating modern age public green houses and gardens on top of the cathedral. Even though the gesture of proposing a new spacial program for the public is a good practice, we believe that historic buildings should not be altered completely to create yet another panorama viewing platform in Paris. During the design of this proposal for the roof reconstruction, our main aim was to find a golden balance of old and new, in which we took inspiration from the existing cathedral. Rather than focusing on the view from the roof to the exterior, we want to point the attention to the interior, to the cathedral, to its meaning as place of worship. Using a wooden frame construction to remind of what was once known as “The Forest”, we create a tranquil space for contemplation and meditation. In the crossing of the cathedral, where once the spire designed by Viollete-le-Duc stood, a steel structured dome adorned with blue, red and yellow stained glass arises, transforming the infalling sunrays into a mesmerizing and spiritual interior illumination. Strongly inspired by the stained glass windows defining the atmosphere inside the cathedral naves, we chose to use the same material to render the new roof space. Following the course of the sun, the colorful pattern wanders across the wooden floor, which introduces a subtle and steady movement to the room. The dome is positioned on the peak of the Notre Dame de Paris and is a direct bridge between the space and the sky, allowing people to experience the light of God. The new roof space is to be seen as an openly accessible part of the cathedral, which contrasts with tall monumental space below to offer an intimate place for meditating, contemplating, mourning, praying and worshipping. The spire, once created by Viollete-le-Duc is rebuilt mostly identically, but with stained glass windows, and is positioned on top of the steel dome. Standing below the spire that and looking up one can experience the connection with the sky. In total, the spire is now 8m higher than the original.The vision of the design proposal is to find a place of quality, it is a continuation of the past into the present that remembers its history. Most importantly, it a place where the believer can experience sacredness of this place

Linh Le, Hejia JinLinh Le, Hejia JinLinh Le, Hejia JinLinh Le, Hejia Jin

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