The People's Notre-Dame Design Competition

Santosh Wadekar

studioSW

India

Designer's Description

Notre dame Redesign - La Couronne de Feu (The crown of Fire)

Notre Dame cathedral is significant not only in terms of Architecture, but also as a living witness recording the history of civilization. It is the pride of a nation, the symbol of a city, a spiritual nerve-center, an epicenter of the culture of a continent and an experiment in construction technology. The concept for the spire is to be a monument to the world, representing hope and triumph over adversity. It symbolizes the cathedral rising from tragedies and reinventing itself as a beacon of eternal flame to the world, uniting the world together towards hope, faith and optimism.

Just like a phoenix, the new spire of Notre dame rises from the flames of its tragedy. A great leader shows his scars and the fire will be just another scar in the long history of Notre dame, a scar that she wears with pride, her crown of fire!Paris, is a city of arts and beauty. Here even destruction has beauty.The Design thus freezes that ephemeral moment of the spire engulfed in flames and immortalizes it forever. The Cathedral is symbolized as the stone facade at the bottom, the metallic strips as flames engulfing the spire in the shape of a crown (referring to the relic of Christ's crown of thorns).

The glass pyramid on the top, glowing with light is the cathedral emerging out of the fire purified by it, reaching out to the heavens. Built in concentric layers, each layer represents different thought  philosophies, construction techniques and historical architectural inspirations from Paris. The first layer at the base, including the cathedral roof is retained true to its original Gothic structure, constructed as an exact replica from lightweight reconstituted stone, serving as a transition between the old Gothic design below to the modern superstructure above.The second layer is a lightweight metal truss (inspiration- Eiffel tower at world exposition) The third layer has thin metallic strips that swirl around the spire, representing the tragic fire. (modernist pompidou center). These pivoted metallic sheets change their shape based on the wind direction, reflecting sunlight in different patterns throughout the day, thus creating an illusion of a golden flame.

The innermost layer is a clear glass pyramid (inspiration-postmodern Louvre) supported by a thin metal frame to making it appear floating towards the heavens. The hole created by the fire in the base of the spire opening up to the cathedral below, is exploited to get a beam of sunlight reflected off the metal sheets onto a tillable mirror placed inside the glass pyramid, into the cathedral, enhancing and reinforcing the spiritual ambiance of the cathedral.The proposed design is mindful of the relevance of its surroundings and is sensitive to the respect it commands in the hearts of millions of people worldwide. The design is intended to itself be a part of history for future generations to come, to explain the reason of its own reconstruction!

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