Architect calls for Notre Dame’s roof to be rebuilt of wood

Notre Dame Cathedral three days after the April 2019 fire(CNS)

A leading architect in France has urged that the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris be reconstructed out of wood, for the sake of the building’s structural integrity. Source: CNA.

Eric Wirth, of the Guild of French Architects, told a parliamentary hearing on January 8 that rebuilding the roof with concrete or metal would be a mistake.

“We have to be sceptical of seemingly brilliant solutions” involving metal or concrete rafters he said, according to AFP.

“The most modern and ecological material today is wood,” Mr Wirth said.

He said the cathedral is still at risk of collapse after a fire in April last year destroyed the roof and spire and damaged the windows and vaults. He said alternative materials to wood might have resulted in further damage to the cathedral.

“The cathedral has been there for 800 years. Had it been built in concrete or steel it would not still be there,” he said.

“Even with all the (chemical) protection treatments, given the intensity of the blaze ... the steel would have held for half an hour and then it would have twisted, pulling on the walls and everything would have collapsed.”

He said that even if metal or concrete roofs were lightweight, the building’s structure is built for a heavy roof, and that such Gothic cathedrals “stand up structurally because there is a large mass on the vaulted ceiling … they only work because the roof is heavy.”

“We are lucky to have all the information we need to rebuild an identical roof.”

The comments came after Jean-Louis Georgelin, the army general in charge of the restoration, said the call for an oak roof is just “lobbying” by wood industries. He said all options will be analysed.

The French Parliament last year passed a bill declaring that Notre Dame must be rebuilt exactly the way it was prior to the fire

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Architect calls for Notre Dame’s roof to be rebuilt of wood (CNA

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