Patrick Sisson reports for Curbed:
“It’s okay to cry,” said Jorge Otero-Pailos.
As news spread of the tragic fire that consumed the roof of Notre Dame cathedral, a national, spiritual, and architectural symbol with few parallels, Otero-Pailos, director of the preservation program at Columbia University, was still taking in the enormity of what had been lost. But with hundreds of millions of dollars already pledged to the rebuilding effort, Otero-Pailos was also wrestling with questions of what comes next.
“It’s of course technically feasible, but you won’t have the same fabrics, the same craftsmanship,” he told Curbed. “You won’t have the continuity. A lot of what heritage objects and buildings allow us to do is connect with the past. We’ll lose the fabric and the continuity will be broken.”
Notre Dame seems poised to rise again. But the complexity of that task, and the technology and technical skill involved, will only become clear in the coming days and weeks, as investigators take stock of the remaining shell of the Gothic cathedral. Curbed spoke to three experts to get a sense of what comes next for the building, where the reconstruction effort may be one of the longest of the modern era. Otero-Pailos and other experts predict it will take decades.