pair of Chinese architects have emerged victorious in an unofficial design competition aiming to provide ideas for the restoration of the Notre Dame in Paris following a fire that destroyed the iconic cathedral’s roof and spire earlier this year.
“The People’s Notre Dame Design Competition” was put together by independent book publisher GoArchitect. It saw 226 different designs submitted from 56 countries with over 30,000 people signing up to cast their votes.
Zeyu Cai and Sibei Liu came up with the winning design which they dubbed “Paris Heartbeat.” The concept includes three key features: a mirror roof, a new spire that will also act as a kaleidoscope from the inside, and a time capsule suspended at the top of the spire which will open every 50 years.
You can read their description of the project below:
Notre dame witnesses the Paris history for over 800 years. It burns, it survives, and it co-breathes with the ever-changing world. Every time the disaster left its impress upon Notre Dame and that became an indelible part of the history. We believe the 2019 fire will give Notre dame a nirvana and marked a new era.The new spire is interpreted into poly mirrors, gently reflecting the context together with the mirror roof. Every moment, the building will have a new look, matching the changing urban environment. A strong connection among the building, the city and the time has been established by the dramatic reflection. A time capsule, designed to be open every half century, is floating at the top of the spire.
The magnetic levitation installation keeps the memory for the past and reserves the space for future story. New spire represents the memory, presence and hope of the human. Time capsule moves rhythmically up and down, breathing and beating together with the city. The inside reflection of the tower spire creates a city kaleidoscope. The vibrant glass dyes the light while the structure expresses the shadow. The beauty and logic of the Rose Window of Notre Dame is fully interpreted in the design.
In the center of the kaleidoscope is the floating time capsule. Through reflection, people can see the collage city around with the portrait of themselves at the focal point. The space and time tangled together in this illusory space. Here, people remind, people confess, people pray. The religious symbol now provides an open answer to the belief and hope for everyone. Now, it is the time to make the Paris Heartbeat come to life.
Cai studied architecture at Tsinghua University while Li did so at the Beijing University of Technology. Both then moved on to Cornell before joining an architectural firm in Chicago.
This competition was unofficial so there’s absolutely no guarantee that any part of their design will be incorporated into the final restoration which has already prompted more than $1 billion in donations to pour in.