UPDATE: on july 9, 2020, french president emmanuel macron said that the spire of paris’ notre dame cathedral should be rebuilt exactly as it was before it burned down. in the wake of the fire, president macron had suggested that the reconstruction of the cathedral’s spire may involve a more contemporary gesture. however, after being presented with a 3,000-page report from the architect in charge of the rebuild, it now seems all but certain that eugene viollet-le-duc’s 1859 design will be reconstructed. 


on may 27, 2019, the french senate approved the government’s restoration bill for the cathedral, but has added a clause that it must be rebuild to its ‘last known visual state’. the decision has put a halt to the government’s international architectural competition, which so far has sparked a series of imaginative ideas ranging from 3D-printing to the use of recycled plastic waste for the historic landmark’s restoration.

notre dame restoredimage © madhurantakam



in light of the news, we round up the craziest, most intriguing, and thoughtful proposals by architects, designers, and artists who have responded to the call. read more about them below, and see our tag that includes all designs here.

notre dame restored



studio drift proposed to sustainably rebuild the notre dame using recycled ocean plastic. the material would be sourced from our seas, thus removing tonnes of harmful waste. the collected plastic would then be melted down and reformed to clad the roof of the church, becoming an international symbol for upscale recycling. the color of the roof tiles relates the sky above, while the material would be resistant to any future fires. by using recycled plastic instead of wood, the studio estimates that thousands of trees would be saved.

notre dame restoredimage courtesy of fuksas



massimiliano and doriana fuksas’ proposal for the notre dame is to create a contemporary structure that dialogues perfectly with the ancient presence. the project for the spire consists of a kind of very high pinnacle made like a baccarat crystal, which, like the roof, can be lit up at night and filled with light. the new element will be a beacon of hope for the future in the night of paris.

notre dame restored



vincent callebaut proposed to unite notre dame’s nave, roof, and spire with glass canopy. the response of the paris-based architect sought to bring science, art, and spirituality together. inspired by biomimicry, the design hopes to establish a fairer symbiotic relationship between humans and nature.

notre dame cathedral to be restored to its original state



studio NAB imagined an educational and inclusive greenhouse on the notre dame‘s roof. the idea of a rooftop greenhouse allows the notre dame to embrace and become part of environmental, educational and social integration. their proposal intends to seize the intended restructuring as an opportunity to create a place where conservation, enrichment of an exceptional heritage and the challenges of society’s ecology and equal opportunities are all taken into account.

notre dame cathedral to be restored to its original state



it was also speculated that concr3de could rebuild notre dame using 3D-printing with stone and ash from the fire. the dutch company suggests to take the rubble and turn it into a new stone of paris, made of the ash, the dust and damaged stone. the 3D-printable powder, which would have the color of the parisian stone yellowish grey, mixed with the charred remains of the wood, could be used together with existing 3D scans of the church, to directly 3D-print the lost parts of the notre dame.

notre dame cathedral to be restored to its original stateimage courtesy of UMA
a proposal by ulf mejergren architects saw the notre dame topped with a public pool. ‘we think that the cathedral looks much better without both the spire and the led-clad roof. instead we let the bell towers, the flying buttresses and the rose windows do the talking. given that we’re in the epicenter of paris, the world’s cultural capital and a city filled with joie de vivre, where not planning on rebuilding the roof as it was. instead we are proposing a meditative public space; a complementary spatial experience to the building with unmatched views over paris..’
notre dame cathedral to be restored to its original state
‘quasimodo’s penthouse’ by who cares?! proposed a luxury apartment on notre dame’s roof. the project adopts a non-conformist approach and takes leave from the gothic architecture which the cathedral is known for. instead, who cares?! proposes a light and green-filled penthouse apartment to be constructed on the roof, allowing quasimodo to enjoy more comfortable accommodation than the dark attic he had become accustomed to. with an area of 8,000 sqft, the famous hunchback will benefit from a new lavish style of living, flooded with beautiful daylight.
notre dame cathedral to be restored to its original stateimage courtesy of valentino gareri
finally, valentino gareri proposed new domes for the cathedral’s roof. the new domes provide separate functional spaces, while the flexibility of the volumes allows to allocate different functions. an elevated and weatherproofed park with an overview on the city, a museum with the cathedral relics, a pavillion for exhibitions, a space for orchestral concerts.