Notre Dame Cathedral will be rebuilt exactly as it was.
Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris after the fire. Photo by Joëlle Lévy, via Wikimedia Commons.
Anyone hoping to see a fanciful, futuristic, or merely modern restoration of Paris’s fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral—including President Emmanuel Macron—had their hopes dashed Monday night, when the French Senate approved a government bill to restore the iconic structure, but not before adding a stipulation that it must be restored to its pre-fire state. The bill calls for the restoration to be completed in time for the 2024 Olympic Games, which Paris will be hosting, and that the cathedral be restored to its “last known visual state,” according to The Local.
The Senate’s provision effectively put an end to the international architecture competition to rebuild Notre Dame’s spire launched by the French state in the immediate aftermath of the April 15th blaze. That competition elicited an enormous range of proposals, from a glassy vision pitched by British starchitect Norman Foster to a palatial private rooftop residence imagined by Viennese architecture firm Who Cares?!.
The French Senate and the Assemblée nationale are still hashing out the terms of a bill over tax deductions for individuals donating funds to Notre Dame’s restoration. Supporters of the restoration include the billionaire art collectors François Pinault and Bernard Arnault, who through their families and companies pledged €100 million ($113 million) and €200 million ($226.1 million), respectively. Both the Pinault and Arnault families said they would not seek any tax benefits from their donations.
On June 9th, Gagosian will open a group exhibition at its Paris location, proceeds from which will support restoration and renovation efforts. In a statement, Larry Gagosian said: “I wish to contribute to the reconstruction of this iconic monument after watching, with devastation, as it was engulfed in flames.”