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July 29, 2019

Two days after the fire, Macron’s close ally Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced an international architecture competition for Notre Dame. Some of the world’s top architects unveiled designs to replace the vanished roof, especially the shattered 295-ft. wooden spire, which was added to Notre Dame only about 150 years ago by the 19th-century French architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. The British architect Norman Foster, who put a glass dome on Berlin’s Reichstag in 1999, called for a “modern, fireproof, lightweight” roof. French-American architect Cooper Copetas, born and raised in Paris, proposed a spire made of steel and glass bricks that would cast a beam of diffused light into the nave.

Now at SB Architects in Miami, the 26-year-old tells us he grew up passing Notre Dame frequently and was devastated watching the fire from the U.S., before seeing it as an opportunity to design something fresh for his hometown. Paris, he says, has rebuilt structures many times through the centuries. He believes that replicating an old design is “dis­honest.” Instead, a contemporary touch “is something Notre Dame deserves,” he says. “It has lost something. So something made of frosted glass, that is ambiguous from afar, could represent the ghost of what used to be there.”

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