RISD architecture professor weighs in on rebuilding Notre Dame Cathedral

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — The French President vowing to rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral after the iconic structure goes up in flames. The rebuilding of the cathedral will be tedious and expensive and a RISD architecture professor says it comes with a big decision. Now the question becomes will the Notre Dame be rebuilt to look exactly how it was before or will they allow it to move into the 21st century?

Of course many people will want the Notre Dame to look exactly as it did before but a RISD professor, who also lives in Paris for half of the year, says they have no choice but to take a modern approach in some ways, to be sure this doesn’t happen again.

An image we won’t soon forget, flames partially destroying the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral.

“People from around the world both loved its beauty but also had a spiritual comfort from the quiet power of that building,” says Peter Tagiuri.

Tagiuri is an architecture professor at RISD. He also lives in Paris part of the year. He says the way the structure was built 850 years ago played a big role in the intensity of the flames.

“There were tons and tons and tons of oak timbers that were up there to hold the roof that then were set on fire and hard to put out,” he says.

It’s no surprise the French have already turned their focus to rebuilding, but it will require making big decisions.

“Its going to be a fun debate to decide whether to rebuild it as it appears to have been or to rebuild it now,” says Tagiuri.

His gut says they’ll do everything they can to make it look the same but one important change will have to be made.

“It needs to move into the 21st century so that it doesn’t happen again because it was vulnerable to fire. Of course everything is always vulnerable to fire, but it couldn’t be rebuilt with the same vulnerability,” he says.

A spokesperson for the 13th Century Basilica says the Cathedral will likely not be opened to the public for 3 years.

© WLNE/ABC 6 2019