Rebuilding the Notre Dame Spire: Proposed New Desings

Aug 2010
16,205
Welsh Marches
#21
Would there be enough information to restore (at least the appearance of) what was there before the 19th Century spire?

I'd certainly think any sort of glass roof would be a mistake, the original design of Gothic cathedrals uses light in a way that such a roof would surely disrupt?
The 13th Century structure that was previously there was demolished in the latter part of the 18th Century to avoid collapse, there must be plenty of images of it.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
26,834
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#22
A problem is that in Middle Ages [like I did last time I visited Notre Dame!] they depicted the facade [I took a photo of it], ignoring the spare. It's about the urban context. In Milan it's more easy and natural to take a photo of the spire [with the little statue of the Virgin, the "Madunina"]. Actually, walking around Notre Dame it's difficult to find a good perspective to take a photo of the spire.

I do guess that there are positions from where this is possible, but I didn't find them [like any good tourist!].

Anyway we've got some medieval clues ... File:La Descente du Saint-Esprit.jpg - Wikipedia

In that depiction the spire appears a bit more massive as for profile than the later one. It seems more Gothic.

About this, I can remind the spire of the Synagogue that the Jewish community in Turin ordered to an Italian architect ... the Mole Antonelliana. It was XIX century as well and its spire is really similar to the later spire of Notre Dame [so not that Gothic]. Btw, the Jews didn't want a Jewish Cathedral and they refused to use the building as synagogue ... it became a hospital.
 
Oct 2013
14,533
Europix
#23
La Tour Eiffel was not plonked on top of a Gothic cathedral!
Of course.

But it was a huge industrial construction utterly ugly, visible from miles, disfigurating the entire beauty of the architecture of Paris.

It's not what we think today.

My point was that perspective on art change in time.

Besides all that: AFAIK, the contest still has three propositions, not one: not building a spire at all (the old design), reproducing le Duc's spire, or making a new design spire.
 
Aug 2010
16,205
Welsh Marches
#24
Of course.

But it was a huge industrial construction utterly ugly, visible from miles, disfigurating the entire beauty of the architecture of Paris.

It's not what we think today.

My point was that perspective on art change in time.

Besides all that: AFAIK, the contest still has three propositions, not one: not building a spire at all (the old design), reproducing le Duc's spire, or making a new design spire.
Indeed, perspectives on art change over time, but (a) because certain works of art have come to be more highly valued than they once were, it does not mean that currently fashionable rubbish is bound to be highly valued in the future, and (b) if one is restoring a medieval building of very high quality, it is risky to say the very least to allow a currently fashionable architect to use this an occasion to show off. Discretion would be advisable.
 

Shtajerc

Ad Honorem
Jul 2014
6,743
Lower Styria, Slovenia
#25
Nothing is impossible.

But that is a suggestion that doesn't take into account the immense pride, even chauvinism of the French people when it comes to "patrimoine national".

I don't believe it.

It's possible that they will choose something utterly futuristic that we might all hate it.

And in 100 years whole world will admire it. Save money to be able to go see it.

You know, la Tour Eiffel ....
Yeah, who knows what they'll eventuelly do.

And as for the saved money, there's many places on my bucket list where I'd like to go before Paris. I don't like places full of tourists.
 

Nemowork

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
8,442
South of the barcodes
#26
There is a useful discussion of Viollet-le-Duc's work at Notre Dame here; it was historicist in nature without being directly imitative. He opposed proposals that would have conflicted with the original architecture, it was not his purpose to make alterations to reflect the spirit of his own time (although looking back we may feel that he was doing so subconscously to some extent, since medievalism and 19th Century medievalism were not entirely the same thing). He removed some 18th Century work that he thought to conflict with the Gothic architecture. I'm worried that we may get some self-advertising piece of modern architecture that conflicts with it, although common sense will probaly win out in the end.
The problem is that the original roof depended on massive beams cut from virgin forest. In the middle ages these were plentiful craftsmen used them all the time for ships, building and anything else, they had stocks of weathered prime timber and the craftsmen to use it in bulk.

France doesnt have those virgin forests any more, noone does except maybe the Americans and Brazilians and they dont have it seasoned and ready.

Any new roof will have to use what is available within the stated period which will be steel bracing and light modern cut wood.
 
Oct 2013
14,533
Europix
#27
Discretion would be advisable.
Agreed.

The issue is that we don't know for the moment what French will decide in terms of approach.

A suggestion might be that official already mentioned that building like Notre Dame aren't "closed design architecture", but evolving design architecture. There is some truth in it: a lot of ancient buildings aren't today what it was initially designed.

It's a vast discussion.

To me, the real risk is the huge gambling involved in deciding a new design spire.

It can be a master piece, that will astonish for centuries, or, as a valuable friend of mine said: "rubbish allowing a currently fashionable architect to use this as an occasion to show off" ...
 
Oct 2013
14,533
Europix
#28
That being said: What are your thoughts?
Personally, I would go more for a classical design.

But, the Slovac Vizumatelier's proposition is something that I wouldn't dismiss.

If we go on the idea of a new spire, a spire that would also reflect it's modernity, Vizumatelier's idea isn't that much "clashing" with the rest of the cathedral, the symbolic is straightforward, simple yet strong.

 
Jun 2016
1,854
England, 200 yards from Wales
#29
Indeed, perspectives on art change over time, but (a) because certain works of art have come to be more highly valued than they once were, it does not mean that currently fashionable rubbish is bound to be highly valued in the future, and (b) if one is restoring a medieval building of very high quality, it is risky to say the very least to allow a currently fashionable architect to use this an occasion to show off. Discretion would be advisable.
I agree. It is true that some works of art become more highly thought of than they were, but often they don't. The popular or fashionable has often become the forgotten or devalued, it would be a shame inflict a construction that went that way on a structure whose artistic value has stood the test of time.
 
Feb 2019
803
Serbia
#30
Personally, I would go more for a classical design.

But, the Slovac Vizumatelier's proposition is something that I wouldn't dismiss.

If we go on the idea of a new spire, a spire that would also reflect it's modernity, Vizumatelier's idea isn't that much "clashing" with the rest of the cathedral, the symbolic is straightforward, simple yet strong.

I agree. However out of the designs listed in the article I find the David Deroo one the best. It aims to keep the original style but to rebuild the spire with modern materials in a ''modern'' image. The one by Mathieu Lehanneur, while completely out of place would be interesting to see in my opinion. Even if it would look terrible. Vizumatelier's idea would probably be cheaper to build than most of the rest.
 
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