The People's Notre-Dame Design Competition

Elias Leimbacher, Ina Koch-Wicki

Elias Leimbacher Architektur GmbH

Switzerland

Designer's Description

Spatial Roof Rose-WindowNotre-Dame is a building of the greatest power. Even though it is touristic, it creates a unique space and is a gathering place to contemplate, to remember and to share thoughts.This spring the big fire threatened the cathedral to its bones and questioned its status.Thanks to many people, who fought and are fighting for it, it still stands and is alive. This moment is a big opportunity. It has the potential to create, like a Phoenix from the ashes, a vital Cathedral in all manners.Therefore, we contemporary people are requested to remember the idea of Notre-Dame, strengthen its character, vitalize it and prepare it for the future. Only rebuilding it by trying to reach the exact image of how it was would be the funeral of its spirit and would make out of the damaged Cathedral only a proper ruin. Notre-Dame had and has a purpose more than being a copy of itself.Consequently, we suggest reinstalling the spire over the crossing by improving it with the best possible contemporary technique and form, based on its origin. This kind of building deserves at all times only the best possible. It should promote development. The gothic idea of pulling heaven to earth by dematerializing walls with light, guided us to the idea to build the spire with bundled, tall hexagonal glass-tubes. They give Notre-Dame a light-catching and glowing spire. As a new pinnacle and roof-window it effects atmospherically surroundings and inner space. Notre-Dame would receive thereby a crystal and a jewel, a roof rose-window and a chandelier. The hexagonal-structure base is a robust system – inspired by nature - and stands as a symbol for stability, remembrance, divine continuation and life. By re-erecting a fine, fitting and newly interpreted old element, the ancient cathedral will keep its essence and transfer it into the present and help the soul of Notre-Dame to stay modern.

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