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Could Notre Dame still collapse? Experts warn of ‘stability’ issues

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The team involved in the restoration of Notre-Dame Cathedral have warned it remains unclear whether the structure can be saved completely

Project manager Antoine-Marie Préaut told the Financial Times that there were still questions over the ‘stability’ of interior arches following the blaze two months ago.

The newspaper reported that workers had not yet fully assessed the damage because it was too dangerous to construct scaffolding inside the Unesco World Heritage Site until flying buttresses that support external walls are strengthened.

‘Gothic buildings have two walls flanking a central nave,’ Préaut said. ‘These walls are supported from the exterior by flying buttresses. If the arches inside are not solid enough, there’s a risk of the building falling down.’

In April, fire ripped through the Parisian cathedral, causing the collapse of its famous spire and roof. However, the main structure of the 850-year-old building survived, along with its two rectangular bell towers.

Préaut, a regional curator of historic mouments in Paris, told the newspaper that the landmark’s south-facing peak was at risk because of the roof collapse.

Earlier this week, Paris’s chief prosecutor, Remy Heitz, said there was no evidence of criminal action behind the blaze, the cause of which remains unknown.

In the aftermath of the fire, French president Emmanuel Macron pledged that the cathedral would be rebuilt within five years.

Last month, French senators approved the restoration bill but with a caveat demanding the cathedral was rebuilt as it was before the fire.

Previously, prime minister Édouard Philippe had announced an international architecture competition for a design to replace Notre-Dame’s spire. 

Préaut told the Financial Times that the plan for Notre-Dame was ‘not a reconstruction but a restoration’. 

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Readers' comments (1)

  • It was expected, but thankfully extertise and common sense are taking over from fatuous politicians and headline-grabbing fantasists. All shall be well...

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