The People's Notre-Dame Design Competition

Chao Chen

Phase Design

Ireland

Designer's Description

Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral design scheme introduction EventsThe Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral has been constructed since 1163, it has experienced more than 800 years of historical vicissitudes and partaken in major historical events in France. Such events can be one way to evaluate the historical value of the Notre-Dame as a world legacy. In the past, there are two categories of events, cultural events and physical structure events. The cultural events bring intangible values, the physical structure events frequently modified the building over the centuries. The structure has recorded human views on aesthetics and crafts of the passing of time. Therefore, the building is a recording of those changes. Also, it indirectly contributes to the intangible values. Currently, we have experienced a tragic fire and disaster damage to the roof and the spire. Even though the spire was not built as early as thought, it has a strong impact in the public memory. Complete replication of the spire is missed opportunity and a non-event. It temporarily addresses public concerns but fails to extend the event, adding no additional value. It could be interpreted as visual deception. To record the event to the appropriate extent, the ideal solution is to represent it (this tragic fire), as one of the many events which happened in its history, continuing to add value to the cathedral. This creates something new to commemorate the recent past, to take into the future.Holy AngelIn Christianity Angels are actively involved in the lives of all people. They have a specific function and it is a blessing to have God send an angel in response to people's prayer or in times of need. In the Bible Angel Gabriel was a messenger to Mary (Jesus's mother). The image of an Angel commonly acts as symbol of a message between haven and human society.Design Feature The scheme utilizes the image of an angel in an abstract form through the damaged roof, floating over the centre of the Altar. When people are standing at the centre of the Altar looking through the glazed tunnel (abstracted body of the angel), they view the Halo above the building which emphasises the spiritual atmosphere. In a functional way, the glazed tunnel brings outdoor light into the building, cascading light on the central Altar. Externally, there are 4 wings over the central roof extending to 4 directions following the ridgelines of the roof. At the street level, it always appears that there are 2 wings with a halo from different vision points around the building. The Angel impacts on the area of the roof most affected by the fire and records the memory of the loss of the 19th century wooden spire.

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