Architects from around the globe will be invited to submit their designs for a new spire to top Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral, after the steeple which topped the iconic landmark was destroyed in a devastating fire this week.
The BBC reports that French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said a competition will determine many key aspects of the spire’s renovation, including whether it should be rebuilt at all. If a rebuild does get the go-ahead, it will be decided if the new spire will be a replica or utilise an entirely new design.
It’s worth mentioning the spire lost to the blaze wasn’t actually the original. Notre Dame was constructed between the 12th and 13th centuries but underwent significant restorations in the 19th, and that’s when French architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc added his version of the spire.
Viollet-le-Duc’s version, a 93-metre-tall structure made of oak and lead, held a copper cockerel statue. Yes, the spire was old, but the cockerel was a spring chicken compared to the rest of the structure.
There has been immense international interest in the restoration efforts, and numerous billionaires have pledged funds to help rebuild damaged sections of the legendary cathedral. As it stands, some $1.38 billion has been promised towards the restoration funds.
Whether the Vatican itself throws cash at one of the Catholic Church‘s most significant landmarks is yet to be seen.
Investigations into the blaze are still underway.