The People's Notre-Dame Design Competition

Randall Diamond

Diamond Architecture

United States

Designer's Description

Notre Dame foremostly is a place of worship and an iconic structure known throughout the world. This proposal presents a harmony between the Gothic and 21st century design. The Gothic base echoes Viollett Le Duc's original design for the spire base and the titanium spire reinterprets his spire restoring the apostles and rooster sculptures backed by stained glass alcoves. Similar to Laon Cathedral, the center bay of the nave is open to the new tower, allowing light and colour from above. Figures of Saints of the 20th century would  line the principal arches. The roof of the arched tower base is of curved blue crystal glass, graduated from deep indigo to light blue, allowing a view from the floor of the nave up into the spire above. On the roof level, a modest plaza surrounds the tower base allowing access to new chapels and a museum of the Cathedral. The circular end of the original roof is repeated at each arm with stone entrances into the new spaces. The form of the original roof is recreated in mirror-polished titanium to reflect the heavens.  

Structure of all of the new work is titanium for its great strength but lightweight. Central to the two chapels are the restored round rose windows destroyed by the fire. High in the mirrored roof slope is a band of sloped butt-glazed cobalt blue windows. This also skylights a gallery access to the roof plaza from the bell towers and allows space along the gallery for necessary ancillary spaces, such as toilets. Inconspicuous vertical access is proposed between the sides buttresses of the bell towers. In the museum in the area above the choir, artifact and exhibits of the history of Notre Dame, including  charred beams of the original roof would be housed. Overall the mirror-bright spire and its stained glass, illuminated from within by LED lighting at night, soars in the Paris sky. In daytime, the movement of clouds will provide a constantly changing display on the mirror-finished titanium of the roof and spire. The mirror  finish will be maintained by small polishing robots. In rebuilding, all of the damaged stonework, from weather or fire is to be restored and rebuilt, and the entire exterior stonework of the Cathedral is cleaned to the original cream white.

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