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Sculpture and architecture harmonize for beautiful Notre-Dame Cathedral Design

Sculptor Ron Baird and architect Silvano Tardella share their inspiration and process behind their Notre-Dame design.

Ron Baird & Silvano Tardella

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Our submission is a collaboration between the Canadian artist and sculptor, Ron Baird and the Canadian Landscape Architect Silvano Tardella founder of the firm NAK Design Strategies.

Ron Baird is one of Canada’s most successful sculptors. His art bestows a sense of place; strengthening connections between people and place and is integral in the fostering of a community’s identity. It celebrates the social, historical and cultural threads of the community, and honors both natural and urban environments.

NAK is widely recognized as one of North America’s leading landscape architecture and urban design practices. With work spanning the public and private sectors, significant public spaces, community master plans and small private commissions, NAK has an established reputation for design creativity that is elevated by an executional approach unmatched in its rigor.

What inspired you to enter the Notre-Dame design competition?

On April 15th, 2019 the world watched with horror and disbelief as the iconic spire of Notre-Dame de Paris became engulfed in flames and collapsed. As a renowned cultural, historical and religious symbol, the obliteration of the cathedral’s roof and spire was a devastating loss for the city of Paris and the French nation.

Ron had flown home from Paris on April 13th 2019. Upon arriving he was devastated to hear the news of the cathedral on fire and watched in shock as the tower fell and the roof collapsed.

Silvano moved his daughter to Paris in 2010. After searching fruitlessly for an apartment for her to live in, they discovered a hidden gem with a spectacular view of Notre-Dame, it seemed too good to be true and they signed the lease that day.

Silvano and Ron have been good friends and collaborators for years. Their shared sorrow propelled their interest in creating a design that would preserve the integrity of the cathedral’s structure & history.

How does your design celebrate the past and future of Notre-Dame?

Our design proposal is guided by deep respect for this cathedral’s Gothic architecture, which boasts innovative structural features dating back to the 12th century. The intent is to create a magnificent, timeless edifice, not dated by current trends in architecture and design. Respecting the pioneering structural advances attributed to this landmark cathedral, the polished stainless steel, majestic in its strength and resilience, is notably weather resistant and fire-proof.

This shining silver spire, reverential and elegant against the Parisian sky, contains a secret - un grand mystère. Contained within are brilliant, colourful, programmable lights, which can dance and strobe at night on special occasions to the delight of spectators. To respect the tradition of the former timber spire, we propose to cap the spire with the original girouette or a replica which will also contain powerful apotropaics to protect the church from dark forces as it did for the first 150 years.

The critical advantage of our design is that it is modular and can be easily fabricated and brought to the site for assembly and erection. It can also be manufactured quickly from available materials, and offers demonstrable structural integrity and longevity. With considerable experience working together on distinguished civic projects, our team are experts in designing and building monumental works in stainless steel. On behalf of the team at NAK, we would be honoured to be considered for this historic restoration project.

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