France’s Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has launched a competition for international architects to rebuild the spire of Notre-Dame Cathedral.
Huge sums of money have been pledged to repair the iconic landmark, which was within “15 to 30” minutes of complete destruction during Monday night’s blaze, junior interior minister Laurent Nunez has said.
French President Emmanuel Macron says Notre-Dame cathedral will be rebuilt “even more beautifully” – and that he wants the work done within five years.
But despite Macron’s pledge experts say its reconstruction could take decades but can be done.
Experts said early phases of the work will include the archaeological recording of surviving fragments of timber, stone and artworks. Once the cathedral is cleared, experts say a thorough survey will need to be carried out to establish the extent of the damage and to ensure it is safe to re-enter. The survey will then turn to the stonework at the top of the cathedral near the roof.
It was pointed out that an initial survey will also establish what the highest priorities are in terms of historical and artistic significance with the stained glass windows requiring some attention because a fire of that size will generate so much smoke and soot and causes micro-fractures in the glass which will be really difficult to stabilise.”
Fifty people will investigate the cause of the fire. Paris public prosecutor Rémy Heitz said there was no obvious indication of arson and that the blaze was being treated as an accident.