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Shigeru Ban proposes simple temporary chapel for Notre Dame site

The chapel would be made of recyclable materials

Rendering of chapel Shigeru Ban Architects

When a fire broke out in Notre Dame this past spring, Paris lost more than a tourism icon—its residents also lost a gathering place for community and worship. Now Shigeru Ban wants to change that with a temporary chapel that would serve as a gathering place for religious services while the cathedral undergoes restoration.

The Pritzker-winning Japanese architect is proposing an airy pavilion designed around simple, recyclable materials. The structure is anchored by wood-paneled shipping containers that connect to paper tube columns via rope. The columns and wooden trusses support a simple white gabled roof, leaving the space open to the elements.

Rendering of chapel made from paper tubes Shigeru Ban Architects

French paper La Croix reports that while the structure is still not approved, it has caught the attention of Paris’ architectural set. “Can such a space, which needs to instill calm and repose, be situated right next to a construction site?” architect Patrick Bouchain commented to the paper. “Will the square, which stands above the archaeological crypt, be able to take the weight of such a structure?”

Practicalities aside, it’s a gesture that many people see as a necessary next step, while plans for the cathedral’s restoration are debated, voted on, and hopefully—eventually—constructed.