The People's Notre-Dame Design Competition

John Donnelly

United Kingdom

Designer's Description

The central feature of this proposal is a new glass spire illuminated at night by fibre optics.The proposal aims to connect the reinstated metal cross and rooster at the top of the new spire with new similarly illuminated glass dais, altar and crucifix, representing the Light of Christ, at the central transept below.Stored inside the rooster is one relic of St Denis, one of St Genevieve and one of the thorns from the crown that Jesus Christ wore at the Crucifixion.It is proposed the glass spire extends down through the new central stone vault to form an illuminated gem-like glass feature pointing down to the new glass crucifix.Fibre optics will be used to illuminate these glass elements commemorating the way the gold cross shone as catastrophe unfolded in front of it during the fire.The rooster can thus continue to serve as a "spiritual lightning rod" for Notre-Dame.It is proposed new exhibition areas be provided in the new roof spaces through which visitors will be able to access the highest glass viewing platform via a glass spiral stairwell at the base of the new spire.The viewing platform will offer views of the new green roofing (representing the 'Sacred soil of France') and the old stone pinnacles and flying buttresses with the Paris skyline as a backdrop.Solar panels will also be used to help power the new lighting systems and new porthole windows will offer additional views out from, and natural light into, the exhibition roof spaces.It is proposed a permanent exhibition be installed displaying the old and new design drawings and images of the Cathedral, the fire fighting and the new reconstruction. In particular to showcase how glass can be used to illuminate, and how Viollet le Duc himself explored how to use materials to the best effect in his designs for Notre Dame. The proposed spiral stairway will be visible through the inverted part of the glass spire from within the transept below, inviting visitors below to ascend to the viewing platform.As a schoolboy chorister who sang a number of times at Notre Dame one can still remember the glorious ten second echo that followed Bach's Fugue in D Minor played by our brilliant organist at the end of morning mass.It is proposed the vaults be restored to preserve this acoustic wonder.It is proposed visitors be invited to pay a voluntary contribution towards the upkeep of the cathedral and towards charitable works in the Parish.The proposal is a fusion of the contemporary with the ancient.Amen.

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