Dieu merci: “Notre-Dame de Paris will be rebuilt identically”
Historian of the cathedral, Agnès Poirier, celebrates the triumph of a pure restorationist vision:
After fifteen months of suspense during which designers from around the world have come up with the most audacious if not totally bizarre designs for Notre-Dame’s new spire and roof, we finally have a verdict. President Macron and the panel of experts presiding over the fate of the 850-year-old Gothic cathedral, which narrowly survived last year’s terrible fire, have unanimously approved almost every single recommendation made by the architect-in-chief Philippe Villeneuve.
His 3,000-page report, launched with a four-hour presentation in Paris on July 9, could be summarised in a sentence: Notre-Dame de Paris will be rebuilt identically.
For a large majority of people in France and beyond, it is a huge relief, and for the 57-year-old Villeneuve, the guardian of the cathedral, it is a sweet and emotional victory. Villeneuve belongs to Notre-Dame. As a small boy with a passion for organ music, he found his vocation in architecture while seated on the wooden benches of the cathedral…
The decision is not entirely unexpected but it’s still wonderful to hear. The danger of a second conflagration – a ‘progressive’ corruption of, first, theology, and then history itself – was immense. My advice to the estimable M. Villeneuve would be to stay on guard all the same. Vandals never sleep.