The People's Notre-Dame Design Competition

Niklas Brockmann-Smith


United Kingdom

Designer's Description

Notre-Dame de Paris is an icon of its country and its capital and is one of the first, and most important examples of Gothic architecture and a UNESCO world heritage site. Such an important symbol must therefore be treated with great care and compassion if any alterations are to be made. The design aims to be respectful and harmonious, and in keeping with the fundamental principles of Gothic architecture, pushing the bounds of engineering to create soaring volumes flooded with light to uplift and inspire all those fortunate enough to experience them.

The proposal is to rebuild the roof preserving its previous appearance but for a unique alteration to the crossing which maintains the existing geometry. From an interior perspective the vaulted ceiling of the crossing is raised and a new, fourth Rose Window added in the form of the curvature of the vault. This new horizontal Rose, which floats far above the congregation, bringing light to the otherwise dark crossing and drawing all eyes to the heavens. The Window blends geometric and intersecting tracery as a subtle hint that it is a new addition to the original design.

The imagery within the Rose depicts the long and illustrious history of the cathedral from the laying of its foundation stone (1163) through the retrial of Joan of Arc (1455) and the coronation of Napoleon (1804) up to the restoration following the fire (2019). From the exterior, a modern, minimalist Rose surrounds the base of the spire conforming materially and geometrically to the original roof. This secondary skin protects the Gothic Rose beneath whilst allowing the light to permeate and illuminating the interior in a spectrum of colour.

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