Restoration architect on Notre Dame: ‘I would want to see it rebuilt exactly as it was’

Local News

Sifting through the ashes- it’s what many in Paris are doing now following the massive fire at Notre Dame on Monday.

Virginia Searl is a restoration architect here in Rochester who has seen something like this before- when First Presbyterian church in Pittsford caught fire back in 2004.

“The first place to start is to stabilize the building and assess the loss and then there will be a long process, I’m sure as there was here, in Paris to determine how they want to proceed,” Searl said.

She said when she and her team rehabilitated First Presbyterian, the project took over a year and a half to complete. Given the size of Notre Dame she said she’d be surprised if it took any less than five years to restore.

“Design work for the level of detail on a building like that, construction documents for recreating the structure will be very elaborate.”

Notre Dame’s roof was made of wood and Searl said they could choose to rebuild with steel or other fire-safe materials, but she wants them to stay true to the original look.

“That’s what we do that’s what we wanna see and a building like that has such importance all over the world, not just in France, but all over the world. I would want to see it rebuilt exactly as it was,” she said.

Even if the look and feel don’t fully return, just like at First Presbyterian, the people will.

To donate to the restoration fund for Notre Dame, click here.

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