The People's Notre-Dame Design Competition

Ali Soltani + Francine leClercq

Soltani+LeCloercq

United States

Designer's Description

The ongoing construction of Notre Dame has been the embodiment of more than 850 years of the city’s existence, a chronicle of its temperament, the wars and peace, captivity and liberation, struggles, progress, revolutions, its literature, reforms, strikes. It has been tarnished, bearing the stresses that come with age, struck by disasters, violated and restored, each time through a sense of solidarity that comes at times of deeply shared feeling.The recent fire, another incident in its long years has once again inspired such a moment of collective will as natural as tending to a somatic malady as it were. Our project will stage Notre Dame and Paris as a corpus of interdependent parts. Seen as such we would do no better than substituting a prosthetic for a treatable limb by opting for glass or carbon fiber and such under the inadvertent pretexts of bigger and better. The roof and the spire will be built as they were, as they should. What warrants their existence is not the latest technology, spurs of emotion calling for the quickest remedy, but the procedure of desire that will continue in its course for as long as it takes.Shrouded in layers of diaphanous membranes hung on an all enclosing scaffold, the visitors can experience an immersive one to one encounter with the building details, and the reconstruction of roof and spire through a series of dedicated paths. Facing Paris the scaffold built to the height of the spire can be used for curatorial display of relics or projections on special occasions. A voided cruciform sliver marks and commemorates the loss of the roof and the spire over the transepts. Notre Dame will faintly be visible as though in the transitional stage of a butterfly in chrysalis. Rather, its presence is constantly felt throughout in an act of collective re-membering.

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