The People's Notre-Dame Design Competition

Dwight G.Hartwick, Roque Orellana, Cesar O. Segovia

Dwight G. Hartwick Architect

United States

Designer's Description

Design Intent:We were not interested in trying to duplicate, modernize or reimagine the roof of the cathedral, nor were we interested in placing a new spire at the same location as the one that was destroyed in the fire.  We chose to return the roof to its original configuration and in using the exterior materials as they were originally constructed.  Whether the structure of the new roof is of timbers or of steel is not the point, the point is to return the cathedral to its original look.We felt the spire as designed and built by Viollet-le-Duc during the 1859 restorations, while subsequently much loved, was overwrought and out of scale with the balance of the original Notre Dame composition.  At the time Le-Duc wrote: "To restore a building is not to preserve it, to repair, or rebuild it; it is to reinstate it in a condition of completeness which could never have existed at any given time."   As was his intent then and in order to enhance the experience of Notre Dame, ours today was to reimagine what the spire could be and not what it once was.To this end of reinstating the cathedral to a never before imagined “condition of completeness” we have chosen to relocate, enlarge and place the spire in a position that would bring the same kind of attention to the rear of Notre Dame as does the plaza at the entry face of the church.  To create a new plaza at the rear of the church, revolving around the new spire and the existing statue, which would change the conversation the visitor might have with the church and which would bring the rear of the church into a similar close relationship with the visitor as the front plaza of the church.  To bring the spire closer to the observer by bringing it down to the ground with a new stone base, which holds a steel structure above, where the statues from the collapsed spire can be displayed and brought closer to the observer.  This steel structure holds a vertical basket of reflecting stainless steel tubes inside of which a stained glass spire, with cross sections that reflect the rose windows of the cathedral, reaches to within just a few meters of the ground, yet soars to the height of the original Viollet-le-Duc spire of 1859.This new spire of light and color rises vertically, suspended within the vertical basket of stainless steel tubes into the sky, until it reveals itself completely at the top of the roof of Notre Dame and continues to the height of the Viollet-Le-Duc spire.  The entire composition is one of openness, air and color, all within a web of reflecting steel that will lighten the spire and not tie it to the ground, but rather express its reaching to the heavens as a composition of light and reflection that replaces the heaviness of structure with a column of light, lit by the sun during the day and by internal lights at night.  Bringing the light play from the interior rose windows to the outside for all to experience.A new, more accessible, spire of light that still rises to the heavens in celebration of the divine, is our suggestion for the new Notre Dame.

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