A Swedish architecture firm has proposed converting the entirety of Notre Dame Cathedral’s fire-ravaged roof into a swimming pool — a radical departure from the Gothic structure’s traditional design.
Stockholm-based firm Ulf Mejergren Architects this week unveiled its plan to turn the roof into a giant cross-shaped public pool — guarded by the statues of the 12 apostles that were untouched by the inferno as they had already been removed for restoration, the World Architecture community said in a press release.
The contemporary design would draw attention to the “publicness” of the cathedral, and the swimming pool would serve as “a new meditative space with unmatched views over Paris,” the firm said, according to the release.
“A cathedral is in our opinion not an isolated island in the urban fabric, it belongs to the city and to the people,” the firm added.
The roof of the beloved, 856-year-old Paris cathedral was decimated in the April 15 fire — and the iconic spire came tumbling down.
At a press conference in the wake of the blaze, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe proposed an international architecture competition to redesign the cathedral’s spire, saying the project should be “adapted to issues of our time.”
While the competition has not yet been officially announced, Ulf Mejergren Architects isn’t the only studio to put its ideas on the table.
One French firm, studio NAB, wants to turn the roof into a giant sustainable greenhouse. The spire would be replaced with a glass apiary filled with bees, and a huge indoor garden would extend along the roof.
But experts such as Florian Renucci, a master mason at the experimental medieval building site at Guédelon in Burgundy, say that the cathedral should be restored to its original glory.
“The restoration of Notre Dame should respect the techniques of the era in which it was built, with respect for the overall Gothic harmony that comes from a combination of the humans who built it and the materials they used, stone, wood, iron and glass,” Renucci told The Guardian. “We must respect the spirit of that work. The Gothic period was a high point in architecture … if we do it right, it will last another 1,000 years.”