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Sacre Bleu! Rooftop Swimming Pool, Crystal Spire Among Notre Dame Rebuild Ideas

© AP Photo / Thierry MalletIn this image made available on Tuesday April 16, 2019 flames and smoke rise from the blaze after the spire toppled over on Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, Monday, April 15, 2019
In this image made available on Tuesday April 16, 2019 flames and smoke rise from the blaze after the spire toppled over on Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, Monday, April 15, 2019 - Sputnik International
On 15 April the famous Notre Dame cathedral in the centre of Paris caught fire during refurbishment work, causing millions of euros worth of damage. The cathedral dates back to 1160.

France is preparing to launch an international architectural competition to find the best way of rebuilding the Notre Dame cathedral in the fourth arrondissement, which was consumed by flames last month.

President Emmanuel Macron, said he was open to a "contemporary gesture" and the Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, called for a new spire "adapted to the techniques and the challenges of our era."

But there are some very unorthodox suggestions being thrown into the pot, many of which are expected to seriously upset traditionalists and Roman Catholics, who view Notre Dame (Our Lady) as the most sacred church in France.

Sweden's Ulf Mejergren Architects have drawn up a plan to rebuild the cross-shaped roof but turn it into a kilometre-long infinity pool, complete with the statues of 12 apostles.

"Maybe the pool will be replaced in a hundred years or so, becoming another layer of great stories for the future," say UMA on their website.

​A French firm, Studio NAB, has already proposed a giant greenhouse roof while Sir Norman Foster, one of Britain's most famous architects, has suggested a pyramid-shaped spire in crystal and stainless steel.

Others have suggested planting an urban forest on the roof, a reference to the old roof which was often referred to as a "forest" because of the amount of wooden beams which held it up.

Many traditionalists are hoping the French state, supported by the Vatican and by wealthy tycoons, will pay for the cathedral to be rebuilt virtually unchanged and for a replica of the 19th century spire by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc to be put up in its place.

Florian Renucci, a master mason in Burgundy, said: "The restoration of Notre Dame should respect the techniques of the era in which it was built, with respect for the overall Gothic harmony that comes a combination of the humans who built it and the materials they used, stone, wood, iron and glass. We must respect the spirit of the that work. The Gothic period was a high point in architecture…if we do it right it will last another 1,000 years."

​But architect Alexandre Chassang said: "We're not obliged to rebuild identically."

On Friday, 10 May, a draft law on the reconstruction of Notre Dame was adopted by the lower chamber of the French parliament.

The draft law, which envisages tax privileges for those donating money for the cathedral's reconstruction, was adopted in a 32-5 vote, with 10 abstentions.

The reasons for the fire are still unclear but prosecutors consider accidental ignition to be the most likely cause.

Macron has promised to rebuild the cathedral by 2024.

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