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How Notre Dame can resurrect: ‘Alone for the reconstruction of the roof is a forest’

The Notre-Dame cathedral, the day after. The damage of the fire is measured, recovery, and rebuilding sounds already very firm language. The difficulty is not small. In theory, there are two options open: a true copy, or the choice for a 21st-century addition.

We can and we want to make it: in Paris lives the conviction that the restoration of the Notre-Dame cathedral, perhaps decades, will take a while, but that they immediately determined must be dealt with. “This cathedral, we …

We can and we want to make it: in Paris lives the conviction that the restoration of the Notre-Dame cathedral, perhaps decades, will take a while, but that they immediately determined must be dealt with. “This cathedral, we shall rebuild, tous ensemble’, as was the French president Emmanuel Macron shortly before midnight again. Indeed: everyone lives in this tragedy. Also, the French luxury groups, which each other immediately overtroefden with generous donations. François Pinault (Gucci, Saint-Laurent) will donate 100 million euros, LVMH group, Bernard Arnault 200. The city of Paris has made already 50 million euros.

A quick recovery is urgently needed. The cathedral is an icon of the French capital, a religious beacon and a monument outside of category. It is a Unesco world heritage site, a masterpiece of the vroeggotiek and carries also a high symbolic value as a lieu de mémoire of French history.

“The Notre-Dame is also the typical example for the most modern style of architecture that Europe has voortgebacht,” says Krista De Jonge, head of department of architecture of the KU Leuven. ‘The cathedrals, the first skyscrapers that we know, with flying buttresses for the arches and for the air pressure. In eight hundred years, the cathedral is also a whole bouwevolutie gone through. They showed himself to be a living organism, expanding according to the needs of a growing metropolis. The city was also an expression of pride. The are the late-medieval craftsmen, and fraternities, which were paid for, often pillar to pillar.’

This was followed by a period of status quo, even neglect. But in the nineteenth century, heyday of the gothic revival, and was followed by a new bloom and a restauratiecampagne. Architect Viollet-Le-Duc went back to the earliest construction period. He recovered, but also added. The narrow spire, which yesterday so dramatically collapsed.

The threat of fire and we

After the scars and after the trauma of the fire: how will Notre Dame again in all its listen rise? First of all the havoc is measured. The most important church treasures were yesterday brought to safety – the relic with the crown of thorns is now in the town hall. But how great the damage is to the interior, with its sculptures, early wooden paneelkunst, stained-glass windows, liturgical objects, and the eighteenth-century choir stalls: it is not yet clear.

The timber frame of the roof, nicknamed le forêt, is in each case completely lost. The first messages the day after suggested that in addition to a catastrophe. ‘The construction is apparently saved,’ thinks Isolde Verhulst, director of the architectural firm Karel Breda that specializes in large projects. “But stability will always remain a sore point. Natural stone tolerates heat poorly, otherwise than brick vaults. Also stained glass windows are heat-sensitive and are easily damaged by water. Even for the exterior of the masonry is the water a threat: the salt of the we comes free and eats up in.’

Local struts and braces, in function of the stability, is one of the most pressing instandhoudingswerken. There is quickly a temporary roof, in the shelter of the interior. For the further restoration remains there are two slopes, think Verhulst. ‘You may return to the existing state of “before yesterday”, to be a faithful copy. Or you can raise the bar and set a new, contemporary interpretation of the reconstruction.’

She gives an example of the Sint-Martinuskerk in Aalst, which at this time restored. There was, after the fire in 1947, not a nooddak made. In the place of the historic trusses came later a concrete roof. They remained long unused. But now the restoration of the extra square meters blootlegden, they will be this summer is in use as an exhibition space.

Oak roof or steel structure?

Although the caesura between the old and the new for the restored Notre-Dame inevitably will be, is to be expected that the French government and the conservative monumental service for the second option. A mix of common sense and historical pride would be the deciding factor.

‘How important the monument, the greater the pressure to provide truthful reconstruction’, says Verhulst. ‘Finding the right materials is in each case a chore. To the long oak spans for the dakgewelf to construct, is probably a very forest.”

Krista De Jonge is less sceptical. “The Notre-Dame should be in each case a roof with the same iconic silhouette as before. Whether it’s a modern steel structure is, or a wood: also the structural elements to create the authenticity of the whole.’

Not an unimportant detail is that French cathedrals, Amiens to Beauvais or the Notre-Dame cathedral, a private chef-architect in the service. The real restauratiespecialisten, who watch over the authenticity. The Young: ‘Where our neighbors are proud of, is their mastery of the classical métier. The compagnons de France , his master craftsman. They are still trained with the earliest principles of architectural history.’

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