2 days ago
France will open the redesign of the Notre Dame cathedral's iconic roofline to international architects after Monday night's blaze gutted the oak-framed structure and sent its 300-foot spire crashing through its vaulted ceiling. President Emmanuel Macron pledged Notre Dame, one of France's best-loved symbols, will be rebuilt within five years. Tycoons and international firms have promised financial and expert help in rebuilding the 850-year-old cultural icon. | Notre Dame was built over nearly 200 years starting in the middle of the 12th century, though it was only in the mid 1800s that architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc added the lead-covered spire during restoration work. "The international competition will allow us to ask the question of whether we should even recreate the spire as it was conceived by Viollet-le-Duc," Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told reporters. “Or if, as is often the case in the evolution of heritage, we should endow Notre Dame with a new spire." Mr Philippe said the competition will also assess whether the spire should be "adapted to technologies and challenges of our times". | More than $1 billion in donations have poured in for the vast restoration of the fire-ravaged Notre Dame cathedral — but Macron’s pledge that it will be completed within five years is facing accusations of being wildly off track. Prominent French conservation architect Pierluigi Pericolo told Inrocks magazine it could take triple that time. “No less than 15 years … it's a colossal task," Mr Pericolo said. Mr Pericolo worked on the restoration of the 19th-century Saint-Donatien basilica, which was badly damaged by fire in 2015 in the French city of Nantes. He said it could take between "two to five years" just to check the stability of the massive cathedral that dominates the Paris skyline. “It's a fundamental step, and very complex, because it's difficult to send workers into a monument whose vaulted ceilings are swollen with water," Mr Pericolo told France-Info.