An architectural firm has proposed that the roof of the fire-gutted Notre Dame cathedral in Paris be rebuilt as a giant swimming pool. And they’re not joking.
According to The Architects Newspaper, an international competition has unofficially started for designers to propose a new spire and roof for the historic landmark, which was severely damaged on April 15.
The spire, which was built in the 1800s to replace a much older one, collapsed in the blaze, as did the entire roof of the main section of the 800-year-old church. Efforts to rebuild the roof and spire with a new design are underway.
British architect Norman Foster has proposed creating the new roof out of glass, making it a giant skylight. He also wants the new spire to look more modern and be made out of crystal glass and steel.
Belgian environmentalist architect Vincent Callebaut had a similar idea, but with a greenhouse underneath.
As radically different as those designs are from what the cathedral looked like before the fire, they’re nothing compared to what another architectural firm has proposed.
According to World Architecture, Swedish firm Ulf Mejergren Architects wants to do away with the peaked roof entirely and turn it into a massive pool — the kind for swimming in. Their artist rendering shows no spire whatsoever, not even one in the shape of a giant fountain to spray water down onto swimmers.
The firm said they wanted their design to imbue a “publicness” to the cathedral, even though it was France’s most visited site before the fire. They also want the swimming pool to create “a space for thinking and self-reflection,” "a new meditative space 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," the architects added.
As you can imagine, a lot of people think they’re completely off their rocker.