9 Absurd Proposals For The Notre Dame Restoration

A month has been passed since the fire in the Notre Dame cathedral broke out and nearly destroyed it, talks about it haven’t died down. Especially since on April 17, France declared the plans to host a contest to design a replacement roof and spire for the cathedral. French prime minister, Edouard Philippe has reportedly stated that the new construction would need a look “adapted to the techniques and the challenges of our era”. And since then, many people, from architects to graphic designers to random internet users, have proposed their ideas on social media.

#1 A Swimming Pool

Notre Dame

“Most proposals that we have seen put way too much focus and effort on the spire; a rather recent addition built in the 19th-century renovation. We think that the cathedral looks much better without both the spire and the lead-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 were 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. The spire is gone, but the twelve statues of the apostles that were put away during the restoration and managed to escape the fire, are once again back at the roof, now as guardians around a large public pool that occupies the whole roof. Maybe the pool will be replaced in a hundred years or so, becoming another layer of great stories for the future. ”

#2 A Car Park

A Car Park

This proposal was made by the minister of mobility and public infrastructure for the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium, Pascal Smet, and that’s probably the best explanation for this design. Smet posted this photo in response to the French-speaking Reformist Movement political party’s traffic policies.

#3 Quasimodo’s Penthouse

Quasimodo’s Penthouse

“Due to the latest events from April 15th, 2019 at Notre Dame in Paris, the most famous bell ringer of the world, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, has lost his home. His more than 600 years old accommodation, the attic of the famous cathedral of Notre Dame, burned down. His loss is tragic, but now it´s time for a change. The Hollywood star Quasimodo, by now rich and famous thanks to the royalties from countless movies about him and his story, has already dreamed about changes to his housing conditions for several years. Finally, he can follow his dream of more comfort, light, and a green rooftop garden. The architectural firm Who Cares?! accepted the challenge and created the first blueprint. Who Cares?! is well known for its nonconformist approach, its love for detail and its creative design methods. Living space is king. The old and dark attic makes a place for a modern and light-flooded penthouse with two gigantic patios including a helipad and a spa with an indoor/outdoor pool. The new loft has a living area of 8.000 sqft with two patios of 540 sqft each. One rooftop garden is located on the east and the other on the west of the building. The penthouse is accessible either via the front rooftop garden or via the helipad. The rooftop garden located on the west side will offer an amazing view of the most iconic sights of Paris. The lavishness of the rooftop gardens continues inside to form to a gigantic, almost sacral loft.”

#4 Dome


This proposition comes from designer Juan Françisco Ronda who wants to send a message of tranquility in peace by surrounding the cathedral with a glass dome. The dome would be supported by a column protruding from the cathedral’s crossing.

#5 McDonald’s Notre Dame

McDonald's Notre Dame

It’s no wonder that this design came from a Reddit user, considering how ridiculous the imagery is, but it could definitely serve as a good social commentary. And if not that, then it’s a good meme. The red roof and iconic McD’s archways could be a reflection of how capitalism works in the current world and how it dominates seemingly everything. It could also be a commentary on other designs proposed so far and how outlandish they seem.

#6 Golden Spire

Golden Spire

“Some say that we should rebuild the spire as it was originally. Others say that we should design a new one. So, let’s build a new one as it was… 8 days ago”

#7 Notre Dame Circus

Notre Dame Circus

A project proposal from an unknown source surfaced recently, showing the cathedral with a rooftop of a circus tent. Likely another bizarre design that offers a social commentary on the ‘circus’ surrounding the cathedral and everyone involved.

#8 Abstract Spire

Abstract Spire

“kiss the architect” uploaded this design together with the hashtag #buildthesame, implying that the proposal was meant as a criticism of the other designs that want to replace something that many people deem irreplaceable.

#9 Louis Vuitton Notre Dame

Louis Vuitton Notre Dame

Inspired by Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s generous €200 million donations to the fundraiser, art director at Brazilian studio Entrequadra Novas Mídias envisioned what would the cathedral look like if it were rebuilt in honor of the company. The iconic Louis Vuitton pattern stretches across the rooftop with the initials standing bold over the stained glass window.

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