Left Menu
Development News Edition

Craftsman shortage could delay Notre Dame reconstruction: Expert


Craftsman shortage could delay Notre Dame reconstruction: Expert
Maude's firm was called upon by the British royal family to help restore Windsor Castle following a fire in 1992 that also shocked the country. Image Credit: Twitter (@Place_Beauvau)

One of the architects who helped restore Windsor Castle after a devastating fire said a shortage of craftsmen could hold up the reconstruction of Notre-Dame. "The supply of craftsmen with the skill to work so much stone, so much timber, so much lead, so much glass for the windows is something which the industry in the whole of Europe may well be challenged to meet at the present moment," Francis Maude, director at the Donald Insall Associates architect firm, told AFP.

"There are other very large projects which are facing the same limitations," he said, giving the example of the Houses of Parliament where his firm is also working. Maude's firm was called upon by the British royal family to help restore Windsor Castle following a fire in 1992 that also shocked the country.

The fire began in the Queen's Private Chapel when a curtain was ignited by a spotlight pressed up against it. It spread to the State Apartments, including St George's banqueting hall, and engulfed Brunswick Tower. There were no casualties, also thanks to the quick reaction of the castle's own small fire brigade.

The restoration work began in 1995 and was completed in 1997, costing �36.5 million at the time. As part of the renovation, a specially commissioned stained-glass window was installed in the medieval surrounding depicting a firefighter battling the blaze.

The castle's grandest rooms were restored to their former state while others were modernised, and the issue of how faithfully to stick to the original design is likely to be the source of "big discussion" when rebuilding the iconic Parisian cathedral. "There will be some who think the only way we can restore Notre-Dame is to make it exactly the same as it was before," said Maude.

Alternatively, restorers could draw inspiration from the rebuilding of Reims Cathedral after World War One, when a fire-resistant steel roof was installed. Maude pointed out that "there has already been a process of change at Notre-Dame" with the 19th-century restoration work done by French architect Viollet-le-Duc, and that carefully selected parts of the church could be modernised, making it more efficient and less at risk of future fires.

But it is likely to be many months before the mammoth cleaning-up process ends and an assessment made on which parts of the 850-year-old Gothic masterpiece can be salvaged. "One particular difficulty which I can imagine is the cathedral being largely constructed of limestone," warned Maude.

When limestone is exposed to temperatures of over eight hundred degrees centigrade, it "decays through chemical reaction... and it's then rather difficult to use it again," he said. "I can imagine that there's going to be a lot of the historic surface of the stonework lost but there may be stone buried deeper within the walls which can be capped."

The cathedral's relatively bare interior should count in its favour, compared to Windsor Castle, where centuries of redevelopments led to a complex web of empty spaces behind the walls. Money does not appear to be an issue, with billionaire donors already pledging hundreds of millions of euros.

The director said he would be "delighted to be invited" to help in the restoration, which he believes could end up revitalising the UNESCO world heritage landmark. "It can be a symbol of renewal," he said of the fire. "There's also an opportunity in some parts of a rebuilt Notre-Dame to have a new expression of an artistic temperament for our own times."

(With inputs from agencies.)

Download The Devdiscourse News App for Latest News.


TRENDING

OPINION/BLOG/INTERVIEW

Conspiracy theories on COVID 19: Legislators, Scientists, and Journalists all joined the Caravan

Conspiracy theories are not new for virus epidemics. There have been conspiracy theories on HIV-AIDS, Polio Vaccines, Ebola Virus, and several other diseases as well. However, what makes the 2019 Novel Coronavirus different from others is ...

Top 10 Fake News, Myths and Realities on 2019 Novel Coronavirus COVID 19

With nearly 1500 deaths by January 14 and around 65,000 infections in China, the Novel Coronavirus 2019 has become one of the worst health epidemics of the 21st Century. However, 8,573 people have been cured but the rumor mongers are a...

Handling fake news Infodemic in time of Coronavirus epidemic

Social media has provided a platform where everybody can disseminate his her views without any supervision. Its excellent if the message is genuine but misinformation is equally disastrous. Health is such a topic where every Tom and Harry c...

Sentiment Analysis on Budget 2020: Long shot for solution to economic worries?

Industries and individuals alike had high expectations from the government to take tangible steps but the budget 2020 seems to have failed expectations....

Videos

Latest News

US condemns expulsion of WSJ journalists by China

The US on Wednesday condemned Chinas decision expelling three Wall Street Journal correspondents, saying mature and responsible countries understand that a free press reports facts and expresses opinion. The move is seen by many as retaliat...

Cowboys WR Cooper says no truth to shooting report

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper confirmed on Instagram on Wednesday afternoon that he was fine, despite an earlier social media report that he had been shot in an area parking garage. The Twitter account that reported the alleged ...

UPDATE 1-Canada passenger rail company lays off 1,000 staff as blockades bite

Canadas passenger rail company on Wednesday said blockades by demonstrators had forced it to temporarily lay off 1,000 employees, adding to pressure on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to solve a two-week protest. Freight traffic in eastern Ca...

Sadhus arrive at Pashupatinath ahead of Maha Shivaratri

Thousands of sadhus from across India and Nepal have started arriving at the Pashupati area of the Himalayan nation ahead of the festival of Maha Shivaratri. More than five thousand sadhus are expected to reach the holy Pashupati area by Th...

Give Feedback