Personal Reflection on the Tragedy of April 15, 2019 at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France #Paris #Fire #NotreDame #Reflection #Architecture #CarpeDiemPosted: April 15, 2019
Reflection on the Tragedy of April 15, 2019
This week is Holy Week, when millions of Western Christians mark the death and resurrection of Jesus. Under normal circumstances, Notre Dame cathedral in Paris would have been preparing to display its holy relics to the faithful on Good Friday.
But as fire engulfed the sacred site on April 15, 2019, Catholics across the world reacted in horror and disbelief, particularly when the cathedral’s iconic spire toppled amid the flames.
For generations, Notre Dame Cathedral has been a place of pilgrimage and prayer, and, even as religion in France has declined for decades, it remained the beating heart of French Catholicism, open every day for Mass.
When something that is tragic like the Notre Dame Cathedral fire occurs, it is important to take time to reflect on what happened. First, I look at this tragedy as a Christian, then as the grandson of European immigrants, and finally as an Architect. I reflect on these recent events using three distinct but entwined lenses:
- As a Christian, I reflect on what it means to be Christian. Although imperfect, we are all put on Earth to accomplish great things. Some have more than others, but we all have our crosses to bear. As Easter approaches, for many Christians around the world who celebrate this holiest of days it is a time of reflection and hope of things to come. As Jesus said, you are not of this world (we belong to Him). When these events happen it also makes us aware of our fleeting earthly lives.
- As a grandson of Europeans, I feel a strong camaraderie with my neighbors in France. As technology helps the world shrink we are becoming global citizens. But as someone who has spent many summers and taken many trips to Europe (probably more than 30 trips over my four decades), I feel a strong connection to what happens in Europe. I have the same feeling in my stomach that I had when 9-11 happened in New York City. We take for granted that these beautiful structures will always be here with us. These events remind us that we must cross off trips that are on our bucket lists sooner rather than later.
- As an Architect, my primary objective is to safeguard the public. Sure, I love great design and inspiring spaces as much as the next designer. However, being an Architect means that we must put safety above all else. When these events occur, I cannot help but think how vulnerable we are. As Architects we are always trying to evoke safety and security into our projects – Many times decisions are made with money more than risk aversion. A 100% safeguard world is not possible, but I challenge my fellow Architects to consider ways that we can educate and confront our clients to ensure that all our buildings are safe. We are all human with earthly perspectives and we are all bound to mistakes as we manage economics with safety. Take for example, the Seton Hall student housing fires that changed safety for campus of higher educations around the country. Can this tragedy bring some good? Perhaps as leaders in our industry we can shape the safety and preservation of our landmarks and new building projects to ensure the safety of the occupants.
Churches, castles and forts are the primary reason I chose this profession. Whenever we lose a structure of significance it is like losing a loved one. Like life itself, our art and architecture must be cherished because it is all temporary after all. Carpe Diem.
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Project size: 2.500 sqm
Duration: Sept 2010 – Aug 2012
Architect: Slangen + Koenis Architects
Chief Designers: Erik Slangen, Jakko Koenis
Team: Jetske Bömer, Bart Solinger, Vincent van Draanen
This sports hall in Lelystad, the Netherlands, is coloured in fluorescent shades of green, yellow and blue. The Architect, Slangen + Koenis Architects, formally known as Koppert + Koenis Architects, has previously designed another sports hall in the Netherlands, featuring a timber-framed structure.
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If you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!
Frank Cunha III
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Did you know that Portugal has it own Roman temple?
Roman Temple of Évora
Check out the following excerpt from Wikipedia.org.
The Roman Temple of Évora (also referred to as the Templo de Diana, after Diana, the ancient Roman goddess of the moon, the hunt, and chastity) is an ancient edifice in the city of Évora, Portugal. The temple is part of the historical centre of the city, classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is one of the most famous landmarks of Évora and a symbol of Roman presence in Portuguese territory.
Although the Roman temple of Évora is often called Temple of Diana, any association with the Roman goddess of hunt stems not from archaeology but from a legend created in the 17th century by a Portuguese priest. In reality, the temple was probably built in honour of Emperor Augustus, who was venerated as a god during and after his rule. The temple was built in the 1st century AD in the main public square (forum) of Évora – then called Liberatias Iulia – and modified in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Évora was invaded by Germanic peoples in the 5th century, and at this time the temple was destroyed. Nowadays its ruins are the only built vestiges of the Roman forum, in an open square fronted by the cathedral and the bishop’s palace.
The ruins of the temple were incorporated into a tower of the Évora Castle during the Middle Ages. The base, columns and architraves of the temple were kept embedded in the walls of the medieval building; the temple-turned-tower was used as a butcher shop from the 14th century until 1836. This new use of the temple structure helped preserve its remains from further destruction. Finally, after 1871, the medieval additions were removed. Restoration work was directed by Italian architect Giuseppe Cinatti.
The original temple was probably similar to the Maison Carrée in Nîmes (France). The Évora temple still has its complete base (the podium), made of both regular and irregular granite stone blocks. The base is of rectangular shape and measures 15 m × 25 m × 3.5 m. The southern side of the base used to have a staircase, now ruined.
The portico of the temple, now missing, was originally hexastyle, six columns across. A total of fourteen granite columns are still standing on the north side (back) of the base; many of the columns still have their Corinthian-style capitals sustaining the architrave. The capitals and the bases of the columns are made of marble from nearby Estremoz, while the columns and architrave are made of granite. Recent excavations indicate that the temple was surrounded by a water basin.