International architecture practice Gensler has created a temporary worship pavilion for the Notre-Dame in Paris, following the cathedral’s roof was severely damaged in a massive fire in April. Set to be located in the cathedral’s iconic Parvis Square, the Pavilion of Notre-Dame is intended to “offer a beacon of hope to Parisians and international visitors alike, whilst the 850-year-old cathedral is being restored.” Gensler’s design, made of charred timber, offers a modest yet emblematic temporary structure with added strength and durability.
“Charred timber, which is one of the oldest and most effective methods of protecting wood from fire, also symbolises that what once destroyed Notre-Dame will only serve to make it stronger thus expressing a language of rebirth and transformation,” said Duncan Swinhoe, Regional Managing Principal at Gensler.
The proposed pavilion is aimed to function as a sheltered nave, the main framework of temporary structure is intended to address to the reminiscent of the structural rhythms and forms of the Gothic cathedral. The roof of the structure is made of ETFE cushions and walls made up of translucent polycarbonate, the temporary structure will be flooded with natural light, emphasizing the ethereal quality of the space whilst creating visual relief. Replicated to the same dimensions as Notre-Dame to ensure familiarity, the temporary space has been designed to serve a multitude of functions, from religious services to exhibitions and markets to performance. Behind the altar, movable panels will be installed that will allow for a full view of Notre-Dame. Gensler’s design also includes rotating panels at ground level that can be positioned to open or close the edge of the structure to mirror the configuration of the cathedral for mass services or be moved to seamlessly open up the space for performances or as a marketplace.
“It is important that the design is true to, but doesn’t upstage, the cathedral. We wanted to strike a balance between a structure that invites the community yet can be transformed to become a reflective and spiritual haven when mass is celebrated. We hope this offers the people of Paris, and the world, a statement of hope and rebirth,” said Duncan Swinhoe, Regional Managing Principal at Gensler.
“Gensler has been careful to pay homage to Notre-Dame by creating a humble space, which provides a critical hub for the community to gather while the cathedral is being restored,” said the firm.