The saddening news of the Notre Dame fire that affected the iconic and beautiful historic cathedral of Paris has traveled all around the globe. However, it seems that there still is hope left.
The definition of authenticity is a complicated matter. According to some beliefs, a building’s authenticity should not be determined by the preservation of the original materials used to build it, but by its relation to location and setting, use and function, spirit and feeling.
In other cultures, many historic monuments have been successfully restored, sometimes after considerable damage, and are still standing today and being appreciated by millions of people. Examples include iconic buildings such as the Catherine Palace in Russia and Japan’s historical monuments of Ancient Nara.
What about the relics and artworks affected by the Notre Dame fire?
The Notre Dame fire endangered a vast collection of Christian relics. Unfortunately, first responders were not able to save all of the objects, and for now, it is not known which ones survived. In the scenario that the relics and artworks were partially damaged by fire, smoke and falling building materials, the focus will be on restoration.
On the other hand, if they are destroyed, the artworks and relics can only be replicated, with a precarious tie to the original works.
Is there a future for Notre Dame?
When it comes to restoration of the cathedral, there are two approaches to the matter. The first option would be that the new materials used to restore this historic structure will be kept distinguishable from the original construction, giving the building a uniquely modern feel.
The second option would be to restore the structure in such a way that untutored eyes will find it difficult to distinguish between the old and new parts of the structure. This would be more aesthetically pleasing, given the extent of the damage.
Notre Dame can be rebuilt, unlike other places of deep cultural significance which may be destroyed forever due to industrial development. Using modern technology, the cathedral could be recreated with near-accuracy to the original, in order to keep the former building’s spirit and feeling.
Emmy Skylar started working for Debate Report in 2017. Emmy grew up in a small town in northern Manitoba. But moved to Ontario for university. Before joining Debate Report, Emmy briefly worked as a freelance journalist for CBC News. She covers politics and the economy.