Design Firm Proposes a Cross-shaped Rooftop Pool on the Notre Dame Cathedral

Design Concept for Notre Dame - Rooftop Pool
Photo: JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD / AFP via Ulf Mejergren Architects (UMA)

Since the April fire that greatly damaged Paris' Notre Dame cathedral, more than a few designs have circulated for how the structure can be rebuilt. While some people want the cathedral restored to its exact former glory, others are looking toward a more modern look for the building.

Swedish design firm Ulf Mejergren Architects has proposed a public pool that will take over the entire rooftop space of Notre Dame cathedral, The Guardian reported.

It's an idea that sounds more appropriate for a trendy downtown bar and hotel rather than a functioning Catholic church, however the renderings are compelling.

Design Concept for Notre Dame - Rooftop Pool
Courtesy of Ulf Mejergren Architects (UMA)

“We are proposing a meditative public space; a complementary spatial experience to the building with unmatched views over Paris,” a spokesperson for the design firm told Lonely Planet. “We think that the cathedral looks much better without both the spire and the lead-clad roof.”

According to the Guardian, the cross-shaped pool would be watched over by statues of the 12 apostles, which have been restored after being rescued from the fire.

Design Concept for Notre Dame - Rooftop Pool
JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD / AFP via Ulf Mejergren Architects (UMA)

The idea is unlikely to be popular with Notre Dame purists, like Florian Renucci, a master mason at the experimental medieval building site at Guédelon in Burgundy, who believe it's very possible the cathedral can (and should) be restored as it was.

“We must respect the spirit of that work. The gothic period was a high point in architecture,” Renucci told The Guardian. “If we do it right it will last another 1,000 years.”

French President Emmanuel Macron ambitiously hopes to finish the restoration within the next five years.

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