The People's Notre-Dame Design Competition

Arseny Pekurovsky, Chon Fai kuok

United States

Designer's Description

Paris The Eternal City of LifeApril 15, 2019 a fire destroyed the majority of the roof and spire of Notre Dame de Paris. Even though many works of art and religious relics were saved, the fire was a significant loss of history. While some think the cathedral should be restored to its pre-fire form with modern technology, our team thinks we should look to the future. Paris is the city of art, music, and architecture. Paris is a pioneer of culture because it is never afraid of evolution, of maintaining the relevance of history by introducing new ideas and allowing life to continue. From I.M. Pei’s Louvre pyramid to Bernard Tschumi’s Parc de La Villette, we see harmony between the old and new. Cycle of Death and Rebirth and the Importance of ‘The Ruin’ Our proposal is to challenge the incident of the fire and critique the relationship between nature and architecture. Our proposal is to preserve a portion of the destroyed roof to tell the story of Notre Dame de Paris and the essence of Gothic architecture. The fire is an unforgettable historical event essential to the process of natural decay and rebirth that monuments experience. Furthermore, the delicate nature of the Gothic is, paradoxically, revealed through its destruction. The ‘ruin,’ as envisioned by Piranesi and others, represents the essence of this architecture:“I like ruins because what remains is not the total design, but the clarity of thought, the naked structure, the spirit of the thing.”-Tadao AndoOur proposal therefore is to preserve the damaged holes in the vaulted ceiling, providing visitors the rare opportunity to see how thin and delicate their section is. The destruction of the roof by fire becomes a new quality of the Cathedral. At night, we propose the lost spire to be reconstructed using holography, a ghost of old Paris but a beacon of the new. Potentially the world’s largest hologram, it would be fitting as a symbol of the city. We envision the new roof to be occupied by a glass skywalk above the structure, allowing people to walk above the ruin and to observe the city from above. Vines and other vegetation on the roof weave nature and architecture together, speaking of regeneration. At the Cambodian Ta Prohm temple, the giant strangler fig trees root into the stones. The two become one after hundreds of years.

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