RSAA / Büro Ziyu Zhuang
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We want to add a new chapter to the history of Notre Dame in a way that it picks up the previous architectural expression, that still forms the body of the cathedral, and the largely undamaged walls.On top of that we want to rebuild the roof with the intentions of the gothic builders in mind. We want to show an expression which roots in the tradition of the gothic architecture philosophy, in developing a church of light, that grows upwards towards the heaven and lets the godly light fall into it, and that dissolves the walls as much as possible.We recreate the shape of the roof, as well as Viollet-le-Duc’s spire on the outside. However, instead of building it in conventional means, we display the shapes through a sequence of transparent shards. When seen at an angle, these show a glistening reconstruction of the roof. When looked at from the sides however the cathedral’s roof starts disappearing, allowing the indirect, but evading the direct look.
The building starts merging with the skies above and at the same time gives a subtle reminder of the damage done to it in the past. The interior of the roof becomes visible through this intervention. A space that has never seen attention will now be under scrutiny. We react to this by carving a curved shape out of the shards that form the roof. These curves follow the rhythm of the flying buttresses below, picking up the shape of the facade and transforming it into something new. The resulting space is open to different functions. We purposefully do not want to suggest a new use, and instead focus on new space, as we see it as the right of the general public to give Notre Dame reason, purpose and life.Lastly, we do not want the changes to be limited to the roof. The wounds caused by the fire reached down into the cathedral, and so should our intervention. We intend for the destroyed areas of the vault to remain open. This way the ancient idea of the heavenly light reaching into the church gets emphasized, and the history told onwards. We choose a free flowing shape that attaches to the vaults on the sides, and transforms them into a spire reaching upwards.The japanese word Kintsukuroi means “golden repair” and describes the art of fixing broken pottery with powdered gold. We adapt this idea and form a new Notre Dame from it, proud of its history and hopeful for the future.
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Elias Leimbacher Architektur GmbH