Notre Dame Cathedral Must be Rebuilt Exactly As it Was, Rules the French Senate
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Notre Dame Cathedral Must be Rebuilt Exactly As it Was, Rules the French Senate

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By Lucy Wang
The French Senate has rejected President Macron’s call for “an inventive reconstruction” by mandating that Notre Dame be rebuilt exactly as it was before last month’s fire.

On Monday evening, the French Senate dashed hopes for a modernized Notre Dame when they passed a restoration bill mandating that the landmark be rebuilt to its "last known visual state" before the roof and spire was damaged by fire last month.

The decision marks a major turning point in the heated ongoing debate over whether the cathedral should be rebuilt as it was, or if the 856-year-old building should be modernized.

Studio NAB submitted one of the earliest proposals and reimagined the cathedral with a greenhouse and apiary in the shape of the original roofline and spire.

Studio NAB submitted one of the earliest proposals and reimagined the cathedral with a greenhouse and apiary in the shape of the original roofline and spire.

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After French president Emmanuel Macron’s suggested "an inventive reconstruction" and Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced an international competition to redesign the cathedral’s main spire, architects and designers from around the world have offered up fantastical designs for the reconstruction of Notre Dame’s roof.

In their Palingenesis proposal, Vincent Callebaut Architectures suggest transforming the Notre Dame into a positive-energy building with a rooftop permaculture garden.

In their Palingenesis proposal, Vincent Callebaut Architectures suggest transforming the Notre Dame into a positive-energy building with a rooftop permaculture garden.

Popular proposals include Studio NAB’s urban greenhouse, Foster + Partners’ completely glazed roof and spire, and Studio Fuksas’ proposal for a roof made of Baccarat crystal.

Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas of Fuksas Architects proposed a Baccarat crystal spire and rooftop that would glow at night.

Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas of Fuksas Architects proposed a Baccarat crystal spire and rooftop that would glow at night.

Despite the proliferation of creative proposals, the majority of the French public polled in a survey reported by France 24 would likely support the French Senate’s mandate. According to the survey, only a quarter of French adults polled supported a reconstruction with a modern "architectural gesture."

The Senate’s modifications to the bill will be reviewed in a joint session between the French National Assembly and the Senate next Tuesday before the bill can become law.

Related Reading: 8 New Spire Designs That Could Crown the Notre Dame Cathedral