Building / Newsletter of 1 Juillet 2019

Eco-friendly solidarity projects for the reconstruction of Notre-Dame

Eco-friendly solidarity projects for the reconstruction of Notre-Dame

Among the many reconstruction projects for the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, two architectural design themes seem to be trending: a full restoration true to the original design, and a complete modernisation with new materials and new use of the space.

The latter is favoured by architect Nicolas Laisné. For him, “accepting to enter this competition implies a desire to transform the original silhouette of this religious structure, itself marked by 800 years of history”, he explained to French magazine Le Point.

His project? To rebuild the framework in wood, rather than in metal as proposed by other architectural firms. One way, in his view, of supporting France’s timber sector at a time when the government intends to accelerate its growth. And to anyone with concerns about deforestation, he responds that, “In France, we do absolutely have sufficient resources to restore the cathedral using wood. It’s important to remember that we export 60% of our wood directly to China to make furniture. So we can easily afford to keep some wood for the restoration of Notre-Dame.” The architect does not, however, intend to rebuild an exact replica. His design favours a framework layout that is accessible to the general public, which he sees as a way to draw inspiration from the “mystery” of the site.

Other project proposals are even more avant-garde. The design by Nicholas Abdelkader of Studio NAB sees the original framework replaced with a timber greenhouse. A proposal that has certainly had people reacting on social media. “The greenhouse would provide a space where unemployed people can receive training and find a way back into society by working the soil”, states the architect. He also envisages transforming the new spire into a beehive, as a nod to the bees that survived the fire. “We could produce the famous 'nectar of the gods'. ”

Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijn, of Drift Studio in Amsterdam, propose to make the roof slates from plastic waste cleared from our oceans. They would work in partnership with Clean Up, an NGO run by young Dutchman Boyan Slat, who wants to rid our oceans of pollution using giant drift nets.

Whilst the idea of a plastic Notre-Dame might prove too shocking for traditionalists, it would avoid cutting down thousands of trees and send out a strong message in favour of recycling. Which really would move Paris into the 21st century.



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