Belgian architect chosen to redesign area around Notre Dame

Belgian architect chosen to redesign area around Notre Dame
Credit: Wikipedia

A Belgian landscape architect, Bas Smets, has been chosen to redesign the surroundings of the Notre-Dame cathedral, announced Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo on Monday morning.

Three years after a fire partly destroyed the iconic cathedral, Paris not only wants to reconstruct the building itself but also wants to redesign the surrounding area. Of the four contenders, the project of Belgian landscape architect Bas Smets, whose office is located in Brussels, was eventually chosen in the last round.

"The surroundings and square of Notre Dame are being transformed. The Seine and nature play a major role in the project of the Bas Smets team selected by the jury," said Hidalgo on Twitter. "To better highlight our beautiful cathedral to better do it justice, while respecting its history."

Earlier, it was also revealed that Smets wants to better equip the surroundings, such as the square in front of the cathedral, against the effects of global warming. "Before Covid, visitors often stood there waiting in the scorching heat. So in the future, they should be able to wait in a better way to enter," Smets told De Morgen.

Apart from Smets, there were three French architects in the running, who submitted an application for the assignment for the reconstruction of the four-hectare site – one of the most visited tourist places in the world, with millions of visitors each year.

The aim is to start construction in 2025. The cathedral is already supposed to reopen to the public as early as 2024, but it is unsure if that deadline will be met.

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