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‘Don’t touch Notre Dame’: Fury at suggestion of reimagining cathedral with modern twist

‘Don’t touch Notre Dame’: Fury at suggestion of reimagining cathedral with modern twist
Suggestions that Notre Dame Cathedral be reimagined following Monday’s fire, complete with modern architecture and materials, have been met with outrage across France and around the world.

Suggestions that Notre Dame Cathedral be reimagined following Monday’s fire, complete with modern architecture and materials, have been met with outrage across France and around the world.

“Let's stop this madness: we need to have absolute respect for French heritage,” Jordan Bardella, another member of the right-wing party, said to LCI channel.

Modern art makes me nostalgic for the arts of the past.

The idea also drew harsh criticism online with people lamenting the loss of historical buildings in Europe and the Middle East.

The anger comes after Macron said that “an element of modern architecture could be imagined” in vowing to restore the iconic cathedral to its former glory within five years. The rebuild effort has received significant pledges from the private sector with donations in excess of €700 million already streaming in.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced an international architecture competition to replace the 19th century spire and refurbish the Jewel of Paris and questioned whether it should be an exact replica of what was lost in the fire, or whether the spire should even be rebuilt at all.

“The international contest will settle the question of whether we should build a new spire, whether we should rebuild the spire that was designed and built by (Eugene) Viollet-le-Duc, in identical fashion, or whether we should... endow Notre-Dame cathedral with a new spire adapted to the techniques and the challenges of our era,” Philippe said.

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The building’s roof was destroyed, its steeple collapsed, its 8,000-pipe organ was damaged, and various paintings and artefacts were lost in the flames.

To replicate the exact specifications of the parts of the building that were destroyed in the fire, it would take years; to locate, season and fit the massive oak beams alone would likely take longer than five years; some have suggested replacing them with materials such as steel, titanium and carbon-fiber.

Benjamin Mouton, Notre-Dame's former affiliated architect argued it was largely pointless to try and emulate the original architecture and building materials exactly given that over the centuries the building has been “heavily altered, modified and reinforced.”

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“On the other hand, we must recreate the cathedral's silhouette and rebuild the spire. That to me is indispensable,” he added.

Macron is hosting officials from UNESCO, the United Nations cultural agency, at the Elysee Palace Friday to discuss the refurbishment and reconstruction, which will be led by Jean-Louis Georgelin, a former five-star general.

According to reports, a poll taken by the BVA institute in the aftermath of the fire, Macron's approval rating has reached pre-Yellow Vest levels, rising from 29% to 32%. 

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