Following a fire that destroyed the roof and spire of the 850-year-old Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral in central Paris on 15 April, architectural organizations in France and abroad have mourned the loss of an architectural and historic landmark and pledged support for a rebuild.
Speaking on ABC News 24, the Australian Institute of Architects’ national president Clare Cousins said the building was “not only a sacred place of worship, it is a place loved by generations upon generations of people all around the world.”
“Over the centuries it has become a cherished part of our cultural fabric, something that incites wonder, a symbol of love, resilience and a structure of tremendous worldwide significance.
“We, alongside countless others across the globe, mourn the damage that has been inflicted by this devastating fire.
“We share the anguish and immense sorrow of the French people at this loss but likewise we have every confidence in their ability to restore the Cathedral with great cultural sensitivity.”
French president Emmanuel Macron has promised that the damage to the cathedral would be repaired and rebuilt.
Like many medieval cathedrals, the Notre Dame was the product of an intergenerational, centuries-long design and construction project. An icon of the gothic architecture style, the church is particularly significant for its flying buttresses and ornate stained-glass windows.
In a statement, the national council of the French Ordre des Architectes said its members were “ready to mobilize all their know-how to participate, alongside craftsmen and other actors in the built environment.
“Let us not forget that the construction of the cathedral has also demonstrated the exceptional technical mastery of its carpenters, masons, sculptors, stained glass, and thousands of workers.”
“Heritage, ancient or contemporary, is a revealing and structuring element of our culture, and we must take the same care to keep alive these markers of our history.”
Cousins said, “The overwhelming response to this terrible event reinforces the extraordinary power truly great architecture has to bring people together, to provide a place where countless special memories are made, where wonder and magic abound.
“Restoring this icon will take extraordinary skill, time and resources – but what’s not lacking is the determination to do so.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, although authorities are not treating the blaze as suspicioud.
The cathedral is one of 70 in Paris owned by the French Government and administered by the Catholic Church.