IN PICTURES: Seven amazing ideas for the rebuilding of Notre-Dame

The French prime minister has launched an international competition to find exciting ideas for the rebuilding of Notre-Dame - and the designs have come flooding in.

IN PICTURES: Seven amazing ideas for the rebuilding of Notre-Dame
The rooftop garden design for Notre-Dame. Photo: Studio NAB

From a rooftop greenhouse to a roof entirely in stained glass and a spire made of light, architects from around the world have been letting their creativity run wild with the task of rebuilding Notre-Dame's burned out roof.

The roof and spire of the Paris landmark were destroyed in the blaze on April 15, with the cause still under investigation.

And although the government will have the final say, the French people will be consulted about the designs, promised Culture Minister Franck Riester.

“The French will be able to express themselves, and then we'll see which decision (will be taken) and how Notre-Dame will be restored,” Riester told LCI television.


A YouGov poll released this week found that 54 percent of respondents wanted the cathedral rebuilt exactly as it was, including the spire and the intricate “forest” of huge oak beams supporting the lead roof.

Only a quarter supported the idea that the rebuilding should include a modern “architectural gesture”, while a further 21 percent had no opinion.

Here are seven of the most unusual designs:

The Slovakian studio Vizum Atelier's design features a seemingly endless spire to replace the one that collapsed. The spire would be a white peak extended at night by an almost infinite light beam.

“In the Gothic era, builders tried to reach the sky. It's up to us to do it,” poetically proclaim the architects.





“Our proposal for the restoration of the Notre Dame Cathedral is to use one element that it has the best, the stained glass. Make all the cover in stained glass, including the tower, with transparency to the inner side, through the opening of the vaults, leaving only the structures flying buttresses. In Gothic there is the connection of the earth to the sky, and inside the Cathedral, the natural illumination multiplies in colors through the filter of the cover in stained glass. At night the inner illumination turns into a grandiose retro backlit coverage. A single element used, stained glass. No new architectural features, no intervention elements (redesign), no ego, no artistic aspirations. Only a religious purpose! Whatever the choice of this restoration, may God enlighten the “Notre Dame”, preferably in a stained glass cover Amen.” Alexandre Fantozzi is not intervention, “redesign”, is restoration! It is not competition of better 3d render, it is only idea of restoration project @notredamedeparis @pontifex_es @alexandre_fantozzi @carvalho.juf @aj6studio @morpholio @architizer @adesignersmind @architecture_hunter @designboom @wallpapermag @archdaily @archdailybr @archdigest @architectanddesign @architecturenow @archello @notredame @saintgobaingroup @saintgobainbrasil @saintgobainglassbrasil @lilysafra @editoramonolito @carolinedemaigret @antoniospadaro @parisfutur @wazou_75 @seemyparis @vivreparis @labnf @vogueparis @glamurama @joycepascowitch @gnt @ad_magazine @thecoolhunter_ @time @babaktafreshi @designmilk @artbasel @artsytecture @instadaconexao @fernandoguerra @parisenespanol #notredame #notredameparis #paris #france #aj6 #aj6studio #morewithless #maiscommenos #vitral #stainedglass #vitrail #arquitetura #architecture #architettura #saintgobain #saintgobainbr #glass #verre #lilysafra #restauration #notredesign #restoration #fantozzi #alexandrefantozzi #design #designer #iluminationdesign #stainedglasswindows #manhattanconexion #avemaria

Une publication partagée par Alexandre Fantozzi (@alexandre_fantozzi) le 22 Avril 2019 à 8 :29 PDT

São Paulo-based architecture practice AJ6 Studio imagines Notre-Dame being rebuilt with a roof and spire made almost entirely from stained glass.

“In gothic there is the connection of the earth to the sky, and inside the cathedral, the natural illumination multiplies in colours through the filter of the cover in stained glass,” explained Alexandre Fantozzi, creative partner at the studio.





Our team has developed a proposal for the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris by @alex_nerovnya. @architecture_hunter @allofrenders @allofarchitecture @designboom @arqsketch @renderlovers @morpholio @adesignersmind @tentree @archdose @norge @autodesk @coronarenderer @houses @buildingswow @onlyforluxury @epicworldpix @render.vis_realestate @highclass_homes @renderbox.magazine @archdaily @canonru @instarender @d.signers @architecturedose @archdigest @next_top_architects @boss_homes @architect_need @artsytecture @restless.arch @archilovers @wacommunity @architectureoskar @render_contest @vogueliving @modern.architect @architecturenow @locarl @globalspaces @wildernessnation @timeouthomes @modernhepcat @haroldmag @theprotraveler @creativefields @travelerstodolist @living_hotels @dreamlixurytraveler @venture_easy @mowellens @camplifecoffee @architectureinteriors @folksouls @trawelawesome @travacs @designwanted @hezzahtrawel @amazingtravelof @nature.tome @kings_shots @aframefever @worldstip @bocadolobo @piclab @effects @exceptional_pictures @natgeoit @igworld_global @pietrogiovannigamba @ourplanetdaily @norgerundt @travelses @mimaribilgiler @architectanddesign @outside_project @openairarchitecture @interiorselfie @myluxguide @pclimd @studioantonini @_archidesignhome_. #notredamedeparis#notredame#paris#france#notredameparis #3dsmax #3d #photoshopcc #Photoshop#archviz#norway#norge#stavanger#stavangerøst#render#corona#coronarenderer#renderlegion#architecture#design#allofrenders#allofarchitecture#cg#cgartist#cgwork#cgworld#marhi

Une publication partagée par Alexander Nerovnya (@alex_nerovnya) le 18 Avril 2019 à 6 :47 PDT

Russian architect Alexander Nerovnya  has suggested a more traditional spire – but a roof made entirely of glass.

“When people come to see the cathedral they will feel a powerful connection to the history seeing the ancient and the modern parts together,” explained Nerovnya.

French designer Mathieu Lehanneur has proposed perhaps the most controversial design – a permanent reminder of the moment flames engulfed the spire.

He said: “Some say that we should rebuild the spire as it was originally. Others say that we should design a new one. So, let’s build a new one as it was… on the day of the fire.”

In a nod to the cathedral's fragility, Italian architects Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas have suggested a roof and spire made of Baccarat crystal, which would be lit up at night.





How can we re-build the past for a new future. Full Article on BD Architecture 'As a French artist and architect, the process of restoring one of our most sacred and historic landmarks raises few questions in my mind – and a hasty rebuild isn’t the right answer to any of them. Today the French architecture board website reads, ’Heritage, ancient or contemporary, is a revealing and structuring element of our culture, and we must inculcate ourselves to keep alive these markers but also built today the markers of our time’.Ultimately, I trust in France’s cultural core and its decision makers to have the audacity to move forward while retaining The Lady’s timeless image. I can only hope the project will be humble but innovative, delicate, beautiful and engaged,created by highly skilled people around a common table. ' Image by : #notredame #paris #architecture #cgi #visual #whathappennext #imagination #ideas

Une publication partagée par DerooDavid (@deroodavid) le 25 Avril 2019 à 4 :03 PDT

French architect David Deroo says he has tried to balance the historic and the modern with this design which he wants to celebrate Notre-Dame's timeless quality. His design shows a modernised version of the roof and the spire, that nevertheless retains much of the original form of the structure.





Spire me back #notredame #notredamecathedral #buildthesame

Une publication partagée par kiss the architect (@kissthearchitect) le 23 Avril 2019 à 11 :29 PDT

Probably the most left-field design has come from a Cyprus-based architects collective called Kiss The Architect. Their design suggests rebuilding the spire with an eclectic mix of arches and balls wrapped around a central staircase.

Some of the other designs that have been submitted include the creation of a rooftop 'rainforest' or a giant conservatory on top of the building, with a glass roof and planted inside with trees, plants and flowers.

Culture minister Reister added: “In general, when cathedrals are restored, new elements are added. So why not have an architectural gesture allowing us to say there was a before and after, and we don't pretend as if nothing happened?”

“But everything will be done with consultations, and nothing will be done behind people's backs,” he said. 


Member comments

  1. Greenhouse? Maybe . . .
    Stained glass roof . . . fascinating!
    Baccarat? Maybe . . .
    Kiss the Architect? Stunningly hideous, ill-proportioned and “look at me” crap. Like Regie theatre.

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Le goûter: The importance of the afternoon snack in France

The French have developed an entire cultural tradition around the idea of an afternoon snack. It's called "Le goûter" and here's what you need to know about it.

Le goûter: The importance of the afternoon snack in France

With all those patisseries and viennoiseries tempting the tastebuds in high street boulangerie after boulangerie, there can be little wonder that France  – which takes food very seriously – has also invented the correct time to eat them.

Let us introduce you to the cultural tradition of le goûter – the noun of the verb “to taste”, and a cultural tradition in France dating back into the 19th century, perhaps even as far back as the Renaissance … allowing for the fact that people have snacked for centuries, whether or not it had a formal name. 

It refers to a very particular snack time, usually at around 4pm daily. This is the good news.

The bad news is that, officially, le goûter is reserved for children. This is why many schools, nurseries and holiday activity centres offer it and offices don’t. The idea is that, because the family evening meal is eaten relatively late, this mid-afternoon snack will keep les enfants from launching fridge raids, or bombarding their parents with shouts of, “j’ai faim!”.

Most adults, with their grown-up iron will-power, are expected to be able to resist temptation in the face of all that pastry, and live on their three set meals per day. Le grignotage – snacking between meals – is frowned on if you’re much older than your washing machine.

But, whisper it quietly, but just about everyone snacks (grignoter), anyway – a baguette that doesn’t have one end nibbled off in the time it takes to travel from boulanger to table isn’t a proper baguette. Besides, why should your children enjoy all the treats? 

We’re not saying ignore the nutritionists, but if you lead an active, reasonably healthy lifestyle, a bite to eat in the middle of the afternoon isn’t going to do any harm. So, if you want to join them, feel free.

What do you give for goûter 

It’s a relatively light snack – we’re not talking afternoon tea here. Think a couple of biscuits, a piece of cake, a pain au chocolat (or chocolatine, for right-thinking people in southwest France), piece of fruit, pain au lait, a croissant, yoghurt, compote, or a slice of bread slathered in Nutella.

Things might get a little more formal if friends and their children are round at the goûter hour – a pre-visit trip to the patisserie may be a good idea if you want to avoid scratching madly through the cupboards and don’t have time to create something tasty and homemade.

Not to be confused with

Une collation – adult snacking becomes socially acceptable when it’s not a snack but part of une collation served, for example, at the end of an event, or at a gathering of some kind. Expect, perhaps, a few small sandwiches with the crusts cut off, a few small pastries, coffee and water.

L’apéro – pre-dinner snacks, often featuring savoury bites such as charcuterie, olives, crisps and a few drinks, including alcoholic ones, as a warm up to the main meal event, or as part of an early evening gathering before people head off to a restaurant or home for their evening meal.

Un en-cas – this is the great adult snacking get-out. Although, in general, snacking for grown-ups is considered bad form, sometimes it has to be done. This is it. Call it un en-cas, pretend you’re too hungry to wait for the next meal, and you’ll probably get away with it.

Le goûter in action

Pour le goûter aujourd’hui, on a eu un gâteau – For snack today, we had some cake.

Veuillez fournir un goûter à votre enfant – Please provide an afternoon snack for your child.

J’ai faim ! Je peux avoir un goûter ? – I’m hungry! Can I have a snack?