“My Hope is built on nothing less…” taken from hymnal song authored by Edward Mote, sums my entire design proposal for the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris 2019.
As a migrant worker and young mum who has a multi-allergy, hyperactive toddler, I struggle with completing my degree and pursuing an architecture career while maintaining the economic, social and physical health and wellbeing of my little family. I have yet to reach one of my hopes of being called an architect or practicing it full time.
Just like the old part of the Notre Dame Cathedral, I am built with old traditions and beliefs from overseas, to be equipped leaving my home country and facing many struggles without much support from family and old friends.
Just like the old stones and windows of the Cathedral that stood the test of time, I go through years of fire and pressures of life, predominantly out of reach from resources I barely want to have.
Just like the past people who built the Cathedral with their hearts, I am striving to continue living in a foreign country now called my new home where I am building my little cathedral of prayers for my son.
The design includes keeping the roof and ceiling (burnt down) similar to the old, but introducing “Hope” in symbols of light and gold. The rebuilding of the old roof and ceiling are decorously respecting and recognizing our past—the people, beliefs, and struggles; while the new “Hope” of light and gold symbolises our present and future. The exterior of the Cathedral shows the descending Hope in a form of a new golden sphere placed inside the silhouette spire of our past. The new spire, made of glass and metal, is like heaven opening up and giving us Hope, as we all need –to live daily in this world and face our struggles.
The interior of the Cathedral gets a glimpse of this golden sphere of Hope shining down the slits of the new vaulted ceiling sitting under the new spire. Just like the dark interiors of the old Cathedral, we are surrounded with
Many viewpoints and opinions,
Many never-ending struggles and pain,
Many opponents and challenges of life.
Only by looking up into this True Hope, can we rightly, with joy and peace in the midst of our pain and pressures of life, be able to sing, “My Hope is built on nothing less…”