World Europe 18 Apr 2019 Skill shortage may d ...

Skill shortage may delay Notre Dame reconstruction

AFP
Published Apr 18, 2019, 2:02 am IST
Updated Apr 18, 2019, 2:02 am IST
Architect firm says few people can work on so much stone, timber, lead and glass in Europe.
Firefighters at work on top of a tower of Notre-Dame Cathedral, as a crane lifts up construction material in Paris on Wednesday, two days after a fire that devastated the building in the centre of the French capital. (Photo: AFP)
 Firefighters at work on top of a tower of Notre-Dame Cathedral, as a crane lifts up construction material in Paris on Wednesday, two days after a fire that devastated the building in the centre of the French capital. (Photo: AFP)

London: One of the architects who helped restore Windsor Castle after a devastating fire said a shortage of craftsmen could hold up Notre-Dame’s reconstruction.

“The supply of craftsmen with the skill to work so much stone, so much timber, so much lead, so much glass for the windows is something which the industry in the whole of Europe may well be challenged to meet at the present moment,” Francis Maude, director at the Donald Insall Associates architect firm, said.

 

“There are other very large projects which are facing the same limitations,” he said, giving the example of the Houses of Parliament where his firm is also working.

“There will be some who think the only way we can restore Notre-Dame is to make it exactly the same as it was before,” he said.

Alternatively, restorers could draw inspiration from the rebuilding of Reims Cathedral after WW-I, when a fire-resistant steel roof was installed. Maude pointed out that “there has already been a process of change at Notre-Dame” with the 19th century restoration work done by French architect Viollet-le-Duc, and that carefully selected parts of the church could be modernised, making it more efficient and less at risk of future fires.

 

But it is likely to be many months before the mammoth cleaning-up process ends and an assessment made on which parts can be salvaged.

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