Paris, France, 2019
Idea - Design
A plan to restore Norte-Dame Cathedral to its original state... by burning the rest of it down and replanting the “forest” of oak trees it took to create it.
The roof structure of Notre-Dame Cathedral often referred to as “the forest,” took an estimated 1,300 oak trees to construct. In 2019, during the fire that engulfed the cathedral, that roof structure burnt to the ground. In our design, the forest is restored to its original state... by burning the rest of the cathedral down and replanting the fallen trees in its footprint.
The scope of our design calls for the existing portion of the cathedral to be dismantled and burnt down in a controlled fire. Once the site is flattened, it will then be “restored” to its primordial state by replanting the “forest” of oak trees in its ashes. After the trees are planted, they will then be left alone to grow undisturbed in the cathedral footprint, and the site will be opened to the public as a park.
The design is a defiant act, taking inspiration from absurdist modernist proposals such as Le Corbusier’s ‘Plan Voisin’ in which he planned to destroy Paris’ city center and rebuild it in his own futurist vision. However, whereas modernists sought to replace traditional values with new standards and rules, our proposal recognizes that the future cannot be saved by any ego—of the future or of the past. Instead, our only hope lies in reciprocity: the mutual flourishing of all beings in conjunction with the flow of time.