Our Vision for Notre Dame During Restoration
A great opportunity exists to have the public engage with the finest craftspeople undertaking the rebuilding efforts of Notre Dame. The areas to either side of the Cathedral can be the stage where it is shown that the traditional skills of timber framing and stone cutting endure today. The French society of workers that built Eugène Viollet-le-Duc's spire, the Compagnons du Devoir, are direct descendants of the original builders of Notre Dame. The Compagnons continue to practice their crafts today and are fully able to once again make Notre Dame whole. How many young people will be inspired by what they may see? Perhaps one day, they will join the future generation of peoples whom look after, and safeguard, our most cherished monuments.
It is important that the public space in front of the Cathedral continue to serve the public. We have included a temporary structure, the Ephemeral Cathedral, that shall serve Notre Dame's congregation as well house an exhibit illustrating the enduring legacy of the Cathedral. This temporary structure is positioned as to avoid the existing crypts below the square, while also maintaining adequate public space for celebrations and gatherings.
Opposite the Cathedral, we have positioned a small workshop and yard that will be used by craftsmen to produce fine stone, wood, or iron work. The public will be able to see, first hand, the highest levels of craft being produced. The living traditions of craft shall be on full display and our collective imaginations of what is possible can expand.
At the corner of the square, near Notre Dame, should stand a monument dedicated to the harmony between the Heart, Mind, and Hand. Humanities greatest potential is possible when all three are in alignment.
Our concept for the Ephemeral Cathedral for Notre Dame to be placed temporarily in the square looks to France’s architectural tradition as a source of inspiration and knowledge.
France’s wonderful use of metal proves to be an invaluable resource for the Ephemeral Cathedral in allowing a design to be fabricated quickly, by teaming up craftsmanship with modern technology, while also ensuring that the structure is adaptable to the immediate needs of the congregation. While the building is temporary in its initial service to Notre Dame, it is designed to serve the community for however long a full restoration requires and could be disassembled and reused for other public function elsewhere.
Over the next few years, the center of Paris could reflect the coming together of the Heart, the Mind and the Hand. As we repair the Heart of France, gathering in contemplation, with skilled hands at work, humanity can begin to cultivate a greater understanding of place.
The Monument to the Heart, Mind, and the Hand
There are few moments in our lives when the Heart, the Mind, and the Hand can find harmony. We must embrace this opportunity and turn tragedy into a celebration, by making the choice to champion the timeless and enduring qualities of our heritage.