French prime minister announces architects' competition to rebuild Notre Dame

French prime minister announces architects' competition to rebuild Notre Dame
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French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe on Wednesday announced a competition for international architects for the rebuilding and possible redesign of the Notre Dame Cathedral’s iconic spire, according to Reuters.

The cathedral’s spire was destroyed in a major fire Monday that collapsed its roof. Philippe made his remarks following an emergency meeting of French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronUS should support, but also prod, Ukraine Civil liberties groups sound alarm over online extremism bill Trump selects Grenell as special envoy for Serbia, Kosovo peace talks MORE’s Cabinet to discuss the cathedral’s reconstruction, according to the news service.

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“The international competition will allow us to ask the question of whether we should even recreate the spire as it was conceived by [architect Eugene] Viollet-le-Duc,” Philippe told reporters. “Or if, as is often the case in the evolution of heritage, we should endow Notre Dame with a new spire.”

Philippe added that authorities have not yet made a cost estimate for the restoration, according to the news service. While Macron said Tuesday he aims to have the restoration work completed within the next five years, architectural conservation experts have said comprehensive restoration is likely to take much longer.

French conservation architect Pierluigi Pericolo has said the necessary work will take “no less than 15 years ... it’s a colossal task.”

Despite the extensive damage, the cathedral’s organ and three stained-glass rose windows survived the blaze, as well as its golden cross and altar and the Crown of Thorns. Authorities have not yet determined exactly how much of the cathedral’s collection of art and historical relics was destroyed or preserved.