Reflections on Notre Dame
Like the rest of the world, the architects of MKC were shaken and troubled by events in Paris yesterday. As the evening darkened, and the skies remained lit by an amber glow of a thousand years, the implications of what had happened began to hit me harder and harder.
As many architects do, I first visited Notre Dame during a study abroad semester in 2007. In spite of almost 6 months of travel, and hundreds of churches visited, the cathedral of Notre Dame impacted me to my core. It wasn't only the buildings ornate monumentailty, nor the glowing darkness of its vast interior; rather its stance within a larger public arena made its largest impression. The crowds of people, tourists and Parisians alike, shared the public square in the shadow of its overwhelming towers. People and architecture cohabit one another - we share experiences with buildings just as much as they share their presence with us. Notre Dame wasn't a mere building, however, but a true edifice of the human past. It belongs to all that is great in humankind. A part of all of us, it is an art of the human race.
And that is why yesterday's fire was so tragic to all of us. Perhaps my mother, when the spire collapsed, said it best, "I'm crying over the loss of a building."
To the cathedral of Notre Dame, thank you for nearly a millennium of memories. May you rise from these ashes like a Phoenix reborn.