Notre Dame Spire Design Competition Launched

MONDAY, APRIL 22, 2019

After tragedy struck Paris last week, France is planning to launch an architectural competition for the spire that was lost in the Notre Dame Cathedral fire.

According to the BBC, French prime minister Edouard Philippe has announced that instead of recreating the original spire, the city hopes to create a new design that is “adapted to the techniques and the challenges of our era.”

The Fire

On Monday (April 15) evening, flames engulfed the more than 850-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, destroying the spire and nearly two-thirds of the roof.

With the help of about 500 firefighters battling the blaze, the fire was brought under control by the early hours of Tuesday morning, five hours after the outbreak. Officials recently stated that no fatalities took place and only one firefighter was reported seriously injured.

Although an investigation was opened, there are still no reports on what officially caused the fire. However, police are saying it appeared to be accidental and that the cause could be linked to the ongoing 6-million-euro ($6.8 million) renovations.

Luckily, while trying to control the blaze, many other firefighters were able to help remove priceless artworks and religious relics from the medieval structure. Photos released from inside the cathedral after the fire ceased suggest that Notre Dame’s 1730s grand organ was also spared.

Officials and investigators are now working on identifying the weaknesses of the structure, accessing the six hours of fire and water damage that the cathedral underwent, in addition to what repairs are needed and how they will be accomplished.

Since the incident, President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to the city that the cathedral would be rebuilt.

In a statement Macron is quoted as saying, “I say to you very solemnly this evening: this cathedral will be rebuilt by us all together. ... We will rebuild Notre Dame because that is what the French expect, because that is what our history deserves, because it is our destiny."

An international fundraising campaign and additional donations through the National Collection of Notre-Dame Paris has already raised roughly 700 million euros in funding for repairs.

The Competition

The announcement of the competition was the aftermath of a special cabinet meeting, which focused on the devastating fire.

Since the spire was not a part of the original structure, or even the first spire built for the cathedral—the first spire was believed to be built between 13th and 18th centuries, and was removed due to wind damage; the second spire was added during the 19th century restoration by French architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc—questions about replicating the tower arose.

The founder of Farshid Moussavi Architecture (London), Farshid Moussavi said that a new opportunity has been presented in bringing together talent and donations to rebuild Notre Dame, much like when the structure was originally built.

“The rebuilding of Notre-Dame is an opportunity to expand that history,” Moussavi said.

“Whereas the political landscape in the Gothic era was based on each country competing with each other to show their piety, today, we can come together as an international community to rebuild Notre-Dame because it is a world heritage landmark.”

French architect Irène Djao-Rakitine also added, “It’s becoming an opportunity to build together a symbol of peace that will hopefully last.”

However, while full details about the competition have yet to be announced, an international call is likely in the works.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Architecture; Asia Pacific; Commercial / Architectural; Commerial/Architectural; Competitions; Design; Design - Commercial; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Fire; Latin America; Maintenance + Renovation; North America; Renovation; Z-Continents

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