Glass, Golden Flames or a Beam of Light: What Should Replace Notre-Dame’s Spire?

By on May 14, 2019

From NY Times:  On April 23, about a week after the fire at Notre-Dame in Paris, the designer Mathieu Lehanneur unveiled his plan for a new spire for the cathedral: a gleaming, 300-foot flame, made of carbon fiber and covered in gold leaf, that would be a permanent reminder of the tragedy.

The suggestion, first made on Instagram, did not go down very well — some even called it blasphemous, Mr. Lehanneur said in a telephone interview.

The idea was meant as a simple provocation: to show the absurdity of rebuilding the spire as it was in the 19th century, he said. But, he added, he had since become serious about the plan.

“A few days after I put it online, I thought, ‘Why not?’ ” Mr. Lehanneur said. “The flame is actually a very strong symbol in the bible,” he noted. “It’s powerful.”

Mr. Lehanneur’s plan is among dozens that have been made public since the fire, most of them produced by small architectural and design firms. They range from the madcap (an architectural folly that looks like a spaceship has landed on the cathedral) to the modern (a project that would turn the roof into a greenhouse).

Many of the designs are glass towers. But one, from Vizum Atelier, a design firm based in Slovakia, would see a beam of light shoot up from a new spire into the sky. It would be a “lighthouse for lost souls,” Michal Kovac, an architect at the firm, said via email. It would fulfill the aim of the architects of Gothic cathedrals around Europe who wanted to touch heaven with their spires, he added.

Another proposal with religious overtones came from Alexandre Fantozzi, a Brazilian architect, who envisaged the cathedral’s roof and spire being rebuilt entirely using stained glass.

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