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Notre-Dame Cathedral must be restored to original state, declares French Senate

France Architecture News - May 30, 2019 - 03:23   3474 views

Notre-Dame Cathedral must be restored to original state, declares French Senate

The French Senators have passed a bill, saying that the Notre-Cathedral must be built exactly how it was before the fire in which its roof was majorly damaged and spire was collapsed. 

According to The Local newspaper, a new restoration bill was approved by the French Senate and it stated that the cathedral "must be restored to the state it was before the blaze". 

The French Senators also removed a controversial clause from the law which would give the government the power "to override regulations on planning, environmental and heritage protection and public tenders."

After the tragic fire on April 15, the subject of the restoration of the cathedral had stirred a controversy and created a political battleground to discuss how the 850-year-old Gothic building should be restored. 

However, the new bill creates an opposition to French president Emmanuel Macron’s call for "inventive spire that is adapted to the techniques and the challenges of our era". Following the fire, the Prime Minister of France announced that they will launch an international competition to design a new spire. 

Notre-Dame Cathedral must be restored to original state, declares French Senate

Image courtesy of Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The new law ensures the fully restored building to be completed in time for the Paris Olympics in 2024, but it requires that the "restoration should be faithful to the “last known visual state” of the cathedral. The new law casts a shadow on government's decision for an international competition. 

After the announcement of an international competition, many architects proposed new visions to design a new roof and spire for the cathedral which suits Macron's call. The designs include Studio NAB's Greenhouse Roof, Vincent Callebaut's biosourced spire and 3D Gothic stained glass roof and Miysis' fully-glazed roof and spire that protects the structure's originality.

The new bill will enable the government to create a public project - known as an établissement public à caractère administratif (EPA) -  to oversee the reconstruction project. This EPA will itself be placed under the authority of the Ministry of Culture, currently directed by Franck Riester.

Notre-Dame Cathedral must be restored to original state, declares French Senate

Image © Thibault Camus/Associated Press

When the bill passed into law, it will draw a concrete framework how the restoration work should be done. When the National Assembly approved, it means the the cathedral will be restored by adhering to all standard building laws. 

The bill also foresees another minor modification on a proposed tax break for those who have made donations for the cathedral’s reconstruction. 

It also outlines "a national subscription project to be put in place in order to manage funds collected, making donations made from April 16th through December 31st eligible for a deduction of 75 percent, up to €1,000," according to The Local

"The Senate has pushed the beginning of this period back to April 15th, so that those who made the earliest donations will not be penalised."

Heritage experts, art historians and conservationists already warned that a five-year restoration plan is impossible for the Notre-Dame. "Any decision to deviate from the original material would be viewed as a betrayal," they said. 

Top image courtesy of Clem/Wikimedia Commons

> via The Local