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“We’re Not Obliged To Re-Build Identically”: Notre Dame Proposals Defy Tradition

The French are traditional people—but if prominent architects get their way the Notre Dame could be rebuilt in unconventional fashion.

The Eiffel Tower’s majestic steelwork. Sacré-Cœur’s Basilica. L’Arc de Triomphe’s Patrimoine. The Notre Dame’s… Rooftop pool?

The French are known as traditional people, but if prominent architects (the ones currently getting most airtime, anyway) get their way, the iconic 11th-century monument, which was partially destroyed in a fire last month, could be rebuilt in quite unconventional fashion.

Ideas floating around include a rooftop pool, a greenhouse roof, a park, a terrace, a mini forest and a pyramid-shaped spire in crystal and stainless steel. These have come from architects like French firm Studio NAB (who propose the greenhouse) and Stockholm-based Ulf Mejergren Architects, (who propose the pool).

This comes as part of a competition to rebuild the monument in which open-minded architects like Alexandre Chassang (who told France Info, “We’re not obliged to rebuild identically,”) compete with traditionalists (and each other) to make the case for their designs.

While a Notre Dame rooftop pool is clearly a long shot, president Emmanuel Macron has said he is open to rebuilding it “more beautiful than before.” Meanwhile, as The Guardian reports, there are many others (like Florian Renucci, a master mason from Burgundy) who believe it can and should be rebuilt exactly as it was.

Of course, people are having a bit of fun with it all on Twitter as well, creating their own designs for the new and improved heart of Paris—like the one below…

While we understand a rooftop bar would hardly be appropriate, we reckon—just as previous generations put their own spin on the gothic monument when it needed to be repaired in the past—we would be remiss not to add a subtle, 21st-century je sais quoi to the rebuild.

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