The People's Notre-Dame Design Competition

Carlos Lima

Portugal

Designer's Description

Some buildings pull through time, becoming culturally meaningful, deeply rooted in the collective memory. Whenever these buildings are damaged, requiring intervention, caution is advised. The image present on people's minds, an image we may assume as complete and unchangable. Yet, the change of such a form, or even its reproduction may not feel the same as before. People are not confortable with the idea of constant change. Change evokes the fleetingness of life and only leaves us confortable if we feel it will be better than before. We enjoy the idea of such buildings, because their endurance against time seems there's a chance to flee our fate. That their preserverance keeps alive, even what is gone.But this idea that those buildings do not change isn't true. Everything is in permanent change, nothing is complete, even if we may not notice it, such as with Notre Dame. We simply choose to preserve such buildings because theiy keep alive this idea and we feel as a part of it, of our culture. The culture of being human. The comprehension that connects us to the past and to those who will futurally come. With this concern for the role of such buildings in our kind, the proposal to the intervention of Notre Dame, and buildings alike, is of subtle changes, seeking to respect and preserve our past heritage, and the values they convey.1. SpireThe Spire, along with the churche's axis, generates an axis mundi, a marking of the sacred site, sets order in caos, into cosmos. The old spire is gone and was a late addition, but we can learn from it. The proposal synthesizes the form of the old spire and keeping the proportions. The scale like texture, in continuity to the roof is kept. 2. Roof For the roof a metallic replacement is proposed (for example zinc tiles) keeping the same metric, and similar to many of the surrounding Parisien rooftops. Also the oxidation of the metal should be controlled in order to better integrate with the existing stone patina. The exception is for the bottom two tiles, which are inverted, allowing the presence of a continous window . The main interior change is here. The roof could be accessible as an interpretation center, informing about the evolution and history of Notre Dame, in continuity to the North Tower access, but only if not interfering with the church experience, or structural viability. An attic/ ship hull atmosphere should be maintained, prevailing wood and a warm low light. 3. ChurchThe damaged vault would be used as an opportunity, and a part of the building's history, to signal the axis mundi, by letting a dominant light come in over the altar. Even with these concerns, these images may convey a radical or strange feeling for Notre Dame. If so, the proposal given here is more of an alert to respect our heritage and its values, for theirs is a great role in the way we change for better.

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