When a devastating fire hit Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral last month, some viewed the tragedy as an opportunity to rebuild the centuries-old Christian church into something more multicultural.
Two of those on the bandwagon were French President Emmanuel Macron, who wanted to rebuild it with an “inventive” design, and Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, who called for a design contest.
Those plans now have been trashed by the French Senate, which approved legislation this week calling for the restoration of the structure to “its original condition.”
The Local reported the bill, anticipating completion in time for the Paris Olympics in 2024, requires that the restoration be faithful to the “last known visual state” of the cathedral.
It reported the vote was a move “to check the government, which has launched an international architectural competition soliciting designs for renovation.”
BizPacReview reported that means “attempts to transform the structure into a ‘contemporary’ beacon for ‘diversity’ and ‘multiculturalism’ won’t be tolerated.”
Twitter users pointed out that the reason for the structure isn’t tourism.
“It’s a historic and important house of worship and the restoration should reflect that,” one wrote.
Some interesting designs were submitted but the problem with revisioning the Cathedral by creating a contemporary roof is that the point of Notre Dame is not a tourist attraction or a museum. It’s a historic and important house of worship and the restoration should reflect that.
— Amy Mullen (@LilyBelle05) May 28, 2019
Other Twitter users weren’t as polite, with one calling Macron’s modernization plan “asinine.”
Philippe had promoted a design competition, because it would “allow us to ask the question of whether we should even recreate the spire… or whether, as is often the case during the evolution of heritage, we should endow Notre Dame with a new spire that reflects the techniques and challenges of our era.”
One radical suggested the spire be replaced “with what would essentially be an Islamic minaret,” BPR reported. “Why? As an apology to Algerian Muslims who were killed by French police during the Paris massacre of 1961.”
Aaron Betsky of an architectural school in Arizona said, “We have to ask what not only Catholicism but the notion of an iconic object in a multicultural and therefore multi-religious city such as Paris means for architecture and how current technologies and materials influence the development of form.”
Investigators have not determined a cause for the blaze.
But But media and authorities were quick to insist it was an accident, dismissing the possibility of a terrorist attack despite nearly 2,000 attacks on French churches in the past two years
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