France Announces ‘International Competition’ to Design New Spire for Notre Dame

France will invite architects from across the globe to submit designs for a new spire for Notre-Dame Cathedral, it was announced Wednesday.

The original 300-foot spire collapsed during the fire that devastated the world famous cathedral on Monday evening. The fire raged for nearly 15 hours.

The competition to design the new spire was announced by French prime minister, Edouard Philippe, would said it sought to give Notre-Dame a spire “adapted to techniques and challenges of our times.”

“The international competition will allow us to ask the question of whether we should recreate the spire as it was conceived by [Eugene] Viollet-le-Duc or if, as is often the case in the evolution of heritage, we should endow Notre-Dame with a new spire,” said Philippe.

The spire was itself an addition, designed by Viollet-le-Duc and erected in the mid-1800s during renovation work to the legendary building, which originally began construction in the 12th century. Speaking after a special meeting of the French cabinet called by president Emmanuel Macron to discuss the reconstruction, the prime minister said restoring Notre-Dame, which is a Unesco World Heritage site, to its former glory was “obviously a huge challenge” and “a historic responsibility.”

A reported $900 million has already been pledged for restoration of the site by French billionaires and international companies, including the owners of globally renowned French fashion and cosmetics brands Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, Sephora and L’Oreal. The prime minister said that all the pledges for the reconstruction would “serve this purpose and nothing else.”

Authorities currently have no estimation of the total cost of the damage and renovation work required. President Macron has vowed to rebuild Notre-Dame Cathedral within five years saying it would be “even more beautiful.” However, some experts have suggested the work might take decades.

The cause of the fire is currently being investigated with workers from companies involved in renovations that were underway being questioned.

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