studio drift proposes to sustainably rebuild the notre dame using recycled ocean plastic

studio drift proposes to sustainably rebuild the notre dame using recycled ocean plastic

since paris’ notre dame cathedral was ravaged by a devastating fire earlier this month, more than $1 billion has been pledged to aid restoration efforts — a figure that some say is already enough to pay for the rebuild. now, amsterdam-based design firm studio drift is calling for more donations, but this time in the form of ideas. the call to action, exclusively shared with designboom, would see talents from around the world share their knowledge and skills in order to contribute creatively and collectively to the cathedral’s sustainable repair.

studio drift notre dame
recycled plastic roof tiles would be used to clad the cathedral’s roof



to kick off the initiative, studio drift has outlined its own proposal, which would see the building’s roof reconstructed using plastic recycled from the ocean. with the help of the non-profit organization the ocean cleanupnominees of THE DESIGN PRIZE 2019 for social impact — 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.

studio drift notre dame
the plastic would be sourced from the oceans, removing tonnes of harmful waste



studio drift founders ralph nauta and lonneke gordijn hope that the open call for ideas will emphasize the importance of rebuilding our world in more sustainable ways. ‘france, please take the lead and donate a large part of your rebuild fund into the ocean cleanup, show the world a beautiful way of building sustainably, and let the notre dame become the monument of the future instead of the past,’ says the duo. you can upload your own ideas and proposals via designboom’s reader submissions platform, where we have already featured a number of proposals.

  • In a 100 years, recycled plastic is unheard of (“wasn’t plastic something they made from this weird stuff called oil?”) but this roof should last longer.

    Also, recycled plastic from the ocean is a mix of 200+ kinds of plastic, and of extreme low quality. It’s best used for benches, or, burned for energy under the right conditions (but we’re not allowed to say that). Save the ocean and make a 100 boats that eats the plastic from the ocean, and power themselves by burning the plastic aboard. Please. I mean it.

    May 09, 2019
  • I think this is a good idea! Sure, it needs some work to make sure the plastic would be incorporated in a safe way, but it would be able to add a contemporal touch, without destroying the aestathic style of the cathedral too much, as other concepts seem to want to do. It would be a reflection of the times we live in now, and a symbolic gesture of combining a rebuild with recycling. Sure, rebuilding exactly according to how it was before teh fire would be nice, but you should remember that the cathedral has been changed over time according to the style of those times – adding a little modern material into the build would not do it any harm – as long as it is consistent with the overall style. And as someone pointed out, it would be in line with the church’s ideal of wanting to save the world.

    May 08, 2019
  • I thought one of the pillars of the catholic church was to do good for others and to be kind to your environment. So i think its a great idea to use sustainable resources, inkeeping with the ideas of the church.

    May 06, 2019
  • Notre Dame is an incredible part of history and I was fortunate to pass it each day on my dog walk living in Paris a few years ago. I was devastated seeing it burn but where it goes from here should add to it’s story and history, not simulate it, in it’s rebuilding. The other thing that this idea addresses is the uncomfortable reality that huge sums of ‘private’ money are pledged to this cause but not environmental and humanitarian ones. Notre Dame is a wonder of the world, but so was the Great Barrier Reef. A sadder loss in my eyes.

    I commend this idea which makes Notre Dame monument to events past and present.

    May 06, 2019
  • The last thing they should do is to use an untested technology to rebuild the Cathedral. The current building lasted for hundreds of years. Rebuilding it in stone and steel with smoke detectors should do the trick this time as well.

    e. Lurie
    Apr 29, 2019
  • This is flat out wrong and disrespectful by Studio Drift, this is a sacred structure that represents the Catholic faith and it’s people! Rebuild using the classic materials and update fire protection technologies. What’s wrong with some people today?!

    Jose Garcia
    Apr 29, 2019
  • Worst idea ever. 1) plastic is flammable, 2) plastic has zero to do with the history of Notre Dame’s architecture, as it wasnt invented when the cathedral was built or even until the 20th century 3) are we going to use ocean plastic to poorly attempt to solve all the worlds problems? Its lazy and stupid. Plastic need to be edited OUT of the 21st century. period. Its had more than enough time to do its destruction to the planet. Think!

    Apr 29, 2019
  • …I am quite sure soon they will come up with the great idea to feed ocean plastic to the hungry. Would be just as appropriate.

    Tom Scheuring
    Apr 29, 2019
  • Yes very fireproof.

    Ton Haas
    Apr 29, 2019

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