Notre-Dame cathedral to rebuild without modern touches

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Notre Dame Cathedral will be rebuilt as it was before the devastating fire last year.No swimming pool or organic garden on the roof of the medieval monument in Paris, no contemporary glass spire, or other modern developments. And to remain historic, it will again be built with potentially toxic lead.

This is the verdict rendered by French President Emmanuel Macron, the current architects of the cathedral and the general in charge of the colossal project of reconstruction of one of the most precious monuments in the world.

Macron, who wants to reopen Notre-Dame in time for the 2024 Olympics, initially pushed for a contemporary touch at the top of the cathedral, prompting eye-catching proposals from architects around the world.

But Macron returned to the traditionalists’ argument and approved the plans to reconstruct the 12th-century monument that were presented on Thursday, according to a statement from the state agency overseeing the project.

The plan includes the recreation of the 19th century spire designed by the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc which collapsed in the fire and “promotes fidelity to the shape of the monument and a restoration of the cathedral in its last state, “the statement said.

This means how Our Lady was in the afternoon of April 15, 2019, before the fire broke out, consumed the roof and threatened the twin towers with the rosettes that keep the cathedral in an upright position.

More than a year later, the structure remains unstable. It took almost a year to clear up the dangerous lead residue released in the fire and get to the point where workers could start removing the scaffolding that was in place for a previous renovation effort. Reconstruction will not start until next year.

The reconstruction plan presented on Thursday indicates that the project will reproduce original materials “to guarantee the authenticity, harmony and consistency of this masterpiece of Gothic art”.

These materials included tons of lead, which is causing concern among health and environmental groups. Lead particles released during the fire forced schools in the region to close and prompted a long and meticulous effort to clean up the historic cathedral district on an island in central Paris.

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