The People's Notre-Dame Design Competition

Rob Lisle

Union Architects

United Kingdom

Designer's Description

THEMES:ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

The fire was an event in the life of the cathedral. It is recorded in the design but the proposals do not seek to reinstate the elements destroyed as they were.

CHANGE

The cathedral is not an object, conceived and realized in a short period of time.  It has, and continues to change subject to contemporaneous influences and events. This design is informed by societal and climatic crises, and intends to accelerate a positive, wider response to them.MODERNITYThe design is progressive - modern construction methods allowing large, dynamic spaces and technologies to resist climate change.INCLUSIVITYIn response to recent incidents and increasing social division, the proposals will convey  openness and inclusivity - an ostensibly religious building broadening its social purpose.

HOPE

Legible, non-denominational symbolism of positivity and optimism visible from as far as possible - a modern spire.

ELEMENTS:THE BEACON

A single column of white light, ascending vertically from the aperture in the roof where the spire once stood.  This beam will be powered by zero carbon sources including vast photovoltaic arrays visible from the street. Light projected horizontally from within the pitched roof will be directed skyward, from the angled sides of a central prism. The opening will admit daylight deep into the spaces below at other times.The light as a symbol, is distanced from specific religious and cultural associations. It carries connotations of hope, education, and openness. Generated as a reminder of the energy crisis we face and with which we must engage, it will be an emblem for the city and a visual point of reference.

ROOF STRUCTURE

The new roof form will sit largely within original volumetric limits. Its planes will be cut back and folded to reveal terraces and glazed openings. Photovoltaic cells will be integrated into the roofing units, allowing power generation and storage on site.

PUBLIC SPACE

Emerging from beneath the truncated roof at the rear, a public terrace overlooks the east of the city.  To the front, revealed between the folded roof planes, a second piazza flows into the space between the towers. An extension of the Parisian public realm, providing new, panoramic views from a historic, central location.

INTERNAL FUNCTIONS

Beneath the roof planes will be two buildings - an exhibition space focused on the climate crisis, and a multi/no-faith prayer and meditation space. These buildings will sit above the choir and nave below respectively. Ribbon bridges across the transept roof void will provide dramatic views along the roof space and down into the cathedral body.

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