The People's Notre-Dame Design Competition

YYYY Design

YYYY Design

United Kingdom

Designer's Description

Our proposal is The Noah’s Ark of Climate Change. It’s a vessel that countenances the effects of global warming and a statement piece with a biblical story. The proposed scheme would also become a living diary that records local events past, present and future. The cathedral is set in the heart of the city where The Paris Agreement was signed in 2016 to “bring all nations into a common cause… to combat climate change and adapt to its effects”.We propose that the new roof of Notre Dame becomes an Ark of inhabitable cabins for all species (physical and holographic) with huge light funnels bringing light and fresh air into the cathedral’s historic interior. The cathedral sits on an historical island, Île de la Cité. Our design references two old bridges linking this island to the mainland. These bridges were once lined with tightly packed houses and shops which were eventually demolished in the 18th Century. One such bridge had sixty stone and brick houses atop, thirty on each side, all built to one tall gabled design. One of our design intentions is re-imbedding this past Parisian architectural memory. Noah’s Ark represents an apt biblical symbol for a Cathedral but is also a comment on climate change. Could the next calamity to strike this revered building after fire be flood? Like that of Noah’s Ark sat atop a mountain awaiting the flood, our proposal detaches and floats off once the rising sea-levels consume the world below. Inhabiting our Ark are the most precious of commodities: living species and data. When the unthinkable happens, the inhabitants are self-sustained by the Ark. A living and inhabitable roof, giving back a usable space right in the city centre, whereas the old roof was a hidden space, where the public could not venture. The inhabitable cabins all face outwards, offering great views over Paris. The cruciform plan of the cathedral’s roof forms the basis of our ‘city plan’, in which two intersecting streets naturally form a centre echoing the Roman city of Lutetia, today known as Paris.The light funnels are huge translucent elements which rise high above the roof. The genesis of their form are the holes broken into the stone-vaulted ceiling by the fire of April 2019. Our intention is to commemorate this event without concealing it and create a new perspective of the Cathedral when looking up from the nave; Being able to see the magnificent stone-vaulting and the infinity of sky beyond. The funnels extend through these holes, allowing the sky to reflect through. The bottoms of the funnels reach into the nave space, illuminating the interior. When rising seas subsume the cathedral, the funnels come to life, acting as the pulsing motor that allows the Ark to drift away safely and sustain itself.Indeed, our proposal is not just an “add-on”, it is an invention with past embedded that urges us to think and act fast, to the greatest challenge we all facing. The living diary continues.

Top 50 Visions of Notre-Dame