Plans Still Being Hotly Debated for Rebuilding Notre Dame
The Notre Dame cathedral was built between 1160 and 1260. The cathedral was dedicated to the virgin Mary, and the history of the cathedral’s survival is intense and legendary. The cathedral is considered to be one of the most refined examples of French Gothic architecture. The cathedral has gone through several modifications, and it has also lived through wars and revolutions. The Notre Dame cathedral has grown to be an iconic symbol in Paris.
In 2019, to the world’s horror, the Notre Dame cathedral caught fire. It has been speculated that the fire started because of a cigarette or because of electrical misalignment. Thankfully, firefighters were able to extinguish the fire, but the damage done was severe. The fire happened during the restoration of the cathedral; construction had already been underway for three years.
Philippe Villeneuve is the Chief Architect who has been overseeing the restoration of the Notre Dame cathedral since 2013. The fire started when he was out of town, so he had to race back to Paris when he heard about it. Villenueve is Chief of Historic Monuments, and he has worked on a number of restoration projects in France and beyond. Villeneuve has a love of history, and he has a strong desire to maintain the original design of the cathedral. The president of France, Emmanuel Macron, would like the cathedral to have a creative reconstruction that incorporates more of a modern design. Villenueve believes that France is bound by the Venice Charter of 1964 which stipulates that monuments have to be restored to their last known state.
The French are well known for being highly opinionated, and this debate is on their minds. According to a survey taken, the majority of French citizens agree with Villeneuve. 54% showed that they were in favor of an identical reconstruction, and only 25% said that they wanted a more contemporary build. The president announced that he would hold an international competition for the reconstruction in order to incorporate all opinions and to attract the most highly qualified professionals.