Paris, France – April 15, 2019 (CCTV – In the wake of the devastating blaze that engulfed France’s 850-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral, concerns have been raised by some heritage architects that the cathedral may still be in danger due to its fragile status.
“The state [of the Notre Dame Cathedral] is probably far worse than what we can see here. The walls, which resisted the fire, have without a doubt lost a part of their resistance. I would say about twenty percent,” said Ursula Biuso, a heritage architect from the Monuments of France.
“The Gothic cathedral is very fragile, and its stability is very fragile. The building, the separate parts support each-other’s weight. Now we have the impression, because the stones are still there, so we are reassured. We say ‘She is still there’, but in reality, we have to be very careful with constructions that have so severely been damaged, which does not guarantee the role of weight and counterweight and support,” said Marie-Amelie Tek, another heritage architect with the Monuments of France.
Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron promised that the church would be ready within five years, just in time for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. But Biuso worries that such promise may only be an empty ambition.
“Five years, well, we specialists can hardly imagine. Even a very small renovation projection takes five years,” said Biuso.
“Even the most experienced engineers, who are already working there, cannot answer the question. I think it is his political agenda, and just a matter of communication. If we are pragmatic, we have to urgently consolidate the building, than look at what can be saved, and do all this within five years seems pretty complicated to me,” said Tek.
The project may take more time than President Macron wishes, but he might not need to worry how to finance the project.
Within days of the fire, over a billion euros were already promised. Amongst the generous donors are wealthy industrial families like Pinault, Arnault, or Bouygues, and also companies like Walt Disney.
Meanwhile, ordinary people from around the world are also giving money, and the sum is expected to grow considerably over the next couple of weeks.