On April 15, the world watched in horror as Notre Dame Cathedral burned. When the iconic spire collapsed, an irreplaceable piece of history seemed lost forever. Within hours, funds were being donated while designers and architects were stepping forward offering to redesign the damaged part of the cathedral. Now a contest has been proposed which would allow artists to submit their ideas for an all-new spire — one that will honor the original while bringing the centuries-old landmark into the new millennium.
Prime Minister of France, Edouard Philippe, recently announced that a call for ideas would be put out to the design world, looking for a recreation that would be “adapted to the techniques and challenges of our era.”
For some, that means going green and one French design studio has a clever idea for turning Notre Dame into a greenhouse and apiary.
Studio NAB has proposed a radical new design that will restore the damaged roof and spire while repurposing those spaces to be good for the environment. The concept, titled “Réflexion,” stays true to the original roofline and shape of the spire, recreating the outline of the cathedral. But Studio NAB founder Nicolas Abdelkader envisions turning the roof into a greenhouse and the spire into a multi-level apiary for bees. It’s certainly a forward-thinking design, but Abdelkader stresses this is an altruistic proposal that may not end up being the winning idea.
Abdelkader is far from the only one sharing their ideas for the new roof and spire. The City of Lights may end up becoming home to the ‘spire of light’ as several designers have proposed projects that involve illuminating the spire at night. Italian architectural studio Fuksas put out a concept rendering of the new roof and spire made of Baccarat crystal which will glow when lit from within at night.
Similarly, Brazilian architect Alexandre Fantozzi imagines the roof and spire lit from within, but made entirely of stained glass and staying true to the original style of the cathedral.
Russian architect Alexander Nerovnya has envisioned a restoration that would see a combining of old and new. An all-glass roof would allow light to fill the cathedral during the day, while the spire would be a replica of the 19th Century version which was destroyed in the fire.
The announcement of a competition to redesign the spire has left people split. Many want to see the cathedral restored to what it was before the fire while others are excited at the prospect of using the rebuild to create a bridge between the past and the present. Ultimately the decision will be up to the French government, the official owner of Notre-Dame, so, for now, we will have to wait and see.
For a look at other architecturally awesome holy places, check out our favorite modern houses of worship.