The Cathedral of Notre Dame is of considerable significance to French’s heritage. For centuries now, it has remained an emblem of the country’s faith, architecture and socio-political power. The catastrophic fire of 15th April 2019 caused significant damage to the iconic spire and roof. However, the prompt response by the fire department helped spare most of its valuable relics and French cultural treasures. The reconstruction plan has become more complicated than previously anticipated because of disagreement on suitable approaches to rebuilding it. Mainly, the contentious issues pertain the architectural designs and the features to retain. Considering the historical relevance of the structure to the country’s heritage, the Cathedral of Dame Notre’s rebuilding should prioritize plans that restores to its original state.
The spire of Cathedral of Dame Notre Dame was a symbol of the French intellectual and architectural brilliance during its commissioning by King Louis VII. Therefore, the restoration should emphasize on maintaining its unique design to ensure its historical relevance is not lost. The architectural designs of France continue to dominate in the world platform and changing the spire’s design today would be detrimental to its reputation in the world stage. The spire and the Cathedral of Notre Dame has played a significant role in in preserving the country’s architectural heritage (“French general’s ‘shut your mouth? slam at Notre-Dame architect bares tensions,” 2019). Thus, it is fundamental to ensure that all efforts to rebuild the spire does not include any changes to the initial designs. The 19th-century blueprints should be used as a benchmark to approve the restoration plans of different interested developers.
The proposal to change the original design of the spire by incorporating more modern styles of architecture is irrational. For most French citizens, the Cathedral of Notre Dame is a connection with their heritage. Therefore, by making changes to its former design, it loses the cultural relevance (Nast, 2019). A YouGov online survey concluded that the majority of Frenchmen preferred the rebuilding of the destroyed part to maintain its original design (“Survey: French Want Notre Dame Rebuilt as it Was,” 2019). In their view, it was a part of their cultural heritage. If changed, it would change the trajectory of how future generations connect with their past. Blending new modern styles in the restoration plan would perversely affect the structure’s distinguished antiquity.
The Cathedral’s roof, also damaged in the fire is another contentious issue. While some of the favor the use of more modern materials, others prefer the use of the 19th century Ashlar materials and glass because of its historical relevance (“France Debates How to Rebuild Notre-Dame, Weighing History and Modernity,” 2019). It is virtually impossible to replicate the medieval art patterns on modern material because they are incompatible with painting material. The mediaeval art integrated on the lattice roofing materials held significant cultural symbolic meaning (By Brian Ries, Veronica Rocha, Rob Picheta, Euan McKirdy, Jessie Yeung, Gianluca Mezzofiore and Paul P. Murphy, CNN, 2019). Conversely, it is imperative to retain the lattice roofing material to ensure the preservation of the artistic patterns of the mediaeval period in the structure
To conclude, the rebuilding of the Cathedral of Notre Dame should prioritize the original designs of the spire and the roof because of its great cultural relevance and symbolic meaning. The preservation of these original designs is of imminent significance to France present and future generations of France. Changing them would jeopardize the country history and heritage. Modern styles of French architecture should only apply to structure with no or little historical relevance.
By Brian Ries, Veronica Rocha, Rob Picheta, Euan McKirdy, Jessie Yeung, Gianluca Mezzofiore and Paul P. Murphy, CNN. (2019, April 16). Why Notre Dame is a powerful symbol of France. Retrieved from https://edition.cnn.com/world/live-news/notre-dame-fire/h_67124f975aef47cd650abb913003b36e
France Debates How to Rebuild Notre-Dame, Weighing History and Modernity. (2019, April 20). Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/18/world/europe/france-notre-dame-reconstruction.html
French general’s ‘shut your mouth? slam at Notre-Dame architect bares tensions. (2019, November 14). Retrieved from https://www.france24.com/en/20191114-french-general-s-shut-your-mouth-slam-at-notre-dame-architect-bares-tensions
Nast, C. (2019, May 20). These 7 Proposals to Redesign Notre-Dame de Paris Are Meant to Start a Debate. Retrieved from https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/proposals-redesign-notre-dame-de-paris-start-debate
Survey: French Want Notre Dame Rebuilt as it Was. (2019, April 30). Retrieved from https://www.voanews.com/world-news/europe/survey-french-want-notre-dame-rebuilt-it-was