Experts conflicted over Notre Dame’s future

Architect experts are split over the future of Notre Dame Cathedral.

The historic building caught fire earlier this week, causing the destruction of the 600-year-old oak roof and collapsing the iconic spire.

Donations to fund the rebuilding process have flooded in and have now reached more than 1.3 billion euros ($2 billion).

An international competition has been launched to redesign the historic cathedral ahead of the rebuilding process.

French president Emmanuel Macron said the cathedral would be rebuilt within five years.

But debate has raged about whether it should be rebuilt exactly as it was, or whether a new structure should be designed.

University of WA architecture lecturer Rene Van Meeuwen said the cathedral structure should not be altered.

“I would definitely rebuild it as it was”, he said.

“Why would you want to change it?

“The church[sic] is more historic than history”.

But Curtin University architecture lecturer Justin Owen said it would be interesting to see the cathedral redesigned.

“Maybe someone should reinterpret everything that was burned,” he said.

“It would be interesting to see the cathedral redesigned.

“The competition is a hugely interesting opportunity.”

The cathedral has undergone numerous changes since it was first built in the 12th century.

In the 18th century, the building was gutted and partially destroyed after the French revolution.

The original spire was removed, but eventually replaced in 1844 using a design by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, who had won a competition to restore the cathedral.

Mr Owen said Viollet-le-Duc took artistic liberties when reconstructing the cathedral and similar redesigns could come from the competition.

“He was recreating an imagined past,” Mr Owen said.

“He was convinced that he was making good on the dreams of previous architects.

“There’s an argument for following in his footsteps.”

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