The big fire in April that tore through the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is still fresh in people’s minds. The 800-year-old landmark suffered great damage to its spire, but thankfully the most valuable religious relics and cultural treasures were undamaged.
In response, a US publishing company GoArchitect organized the People’s Design Competition to invite designers, worldwide, to share their ideas of rebuilding the French landmark. The open call attracted more than 200 proposals from 56 countries and regions. In the end, Chinese architects Cai Zeyu and Li Sibei won the competition with their striking design. They are both the post-90s generation.
Named “Paris Heartbeat”, the design replaces the old spire with a kaleidoscope of multifaceted mirrors, which is combined with a mirror roof, reflecting the ever-changing urban environment.
The kaleidoscope is the floating “time capsule”, at the top of the spire using magnetic levitation technology, which is meant to open every half century. The “time capsule” moves rhythmically up and down, breathing and beating together with the city.
“I believe that the ‘time capsule’ can be achieved with present technology,” Cai told the Global Times.
The pair hoped that their design, Paris Heartbeat, could meet people’s high expectations for the iconic cathedral’s restoration. As Cai and Li told GoArchitect, “Notre Dame witnessed Parisian history. It burns, it survives, and it co-breathes with the ever-changing world ... The 2019 fire will mark a new era.”
Though people still don’t know what kind of design the French government will choose, it’s clear that people around the world hope that Notre Dame will reclaim its lost beauty. Once rebuilt, it will certainly become a permanent part of history and the Parisian skyline again.
(Translator & Editor: Wamg Xingwei AND Luo Sitian)