At our press conference in the Council of Ministers on April 17 and concerning the future international competition for the rehabilitation of the Notre Dame Cathedral, the French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe expressed the wish that the future project should be "adapted to issues of our time. " At the same time, several renowned architects took the floor in the media and gave some analysis and architectural answers to this tragedy: a crystal arrow and a titanium cover for some, an identical reconstruction for other. The debate between modern and old is launched.
The diagnostic phase will be long. While waiting for the consolidation of the building and the verdict as to the mode of intervention chosen, we wanted to bring, as professionals of the architecture, some elements of reflection to feed the nascent debate which we hope, will do so "citizen". And if facing this drama, the restructuring of Notre Dame de Paris was part of an environmental, educational and social integration? On this fire and in the period of crisis that the country and the world are currently going through, we are lucky to build a place of reference where conservation, enrichment of an exceptional heritage and taking into account societal challenges in ecology and equal opportunities. Protecting the living, reintroducing biodiversity, educating consciences and being social, are all symbols, faithful to the values of France and those of the church, that we could defend and promote for this project.
So that the future Notre Dame will not become a mere anachronistic representation or a purely plastic demonstration, we must avoid the aesthetic pitfall and accept the sad destiny of this edifice, which is eminently turned towards the human. Since the 12th century, women and men have given their lives to the construction of this remarkable work, rebuild in their honor this great lady in the most humble way. To build a new cathedral anchored in its time, turned towards the future and representing the stakes of our time through some lines of thought: • The work of the earth as unifying element of the sacred and the living. Enable the professional reintegration of the poor by learning urban agriculture, horticulture and permaculture through the creation of a greenhouse. Reconnecting our children to nature and educating them through educational workshops organized within this same greenhouse. • Bees, insatiable workers, in homage to the builders of the cathedral. In reference to the hives that survived the fire and in order to reintroduce the "living" in Paris, we could produce the famous "nectar of the gods" in the heart of the new arrow became apiary.
Here again, professional reintegration is envisaged thanks to the training of beekeepers able to produce "honey of Notre Dame de Paris" on a large scale tomorrow. • Make the stigmata of the fire a strength and rebuild from the ashes. The burnt oak framework, nicknamed "the forest", will be reused to create all the planters and facilities present in the greenhouse. This is the symbol of acceptance of the course of history and metaphorical illustration that this "forest" became burnt wood, can serve as a cradle to the new "forest". • Respect the original silhouette of the building and the different figures that inhabited it. In the image of a royal crown, light and openwork, the arrow and the future roof are imagined in goldtone steel structure and filled in glass panels, all respecting the initial ordering of the roofs. The dozen statues of the original arrow will be relocated after their restoration, right in the greenhouse to watch over the latter. Our approach is simply to feed the debate about the future of Notre Dame de Paris. We suggest a slightly different angle of view, perhaps more universalist and less focused on choosing one architectural response over another.
Highlight the fact that contemporary architecture has a real social role to play if it listens to society and issues to consider for the next decades. In our opinion, architecture should express itself with a certain empathy in its approach to the projects, but also of the Human for whom it builds. It should not be reduced to the result of a gesture, nor to a formal or technological expression, nor to the enhancement of a mere materiality. Our historic heritage, of which Notre Dame is a part, is the guarantor of our history for all and for future generations. What legacy do we want to leave to our children? What could become as sacred as our beliefs in our religions, nature? respect for others? These are, we believe, the main issues that our thinking raises