Redevelopment of area surrounding Notre-Dame Cathedral
Bas Smets  

Redevelopment of area surrounding Notre-Dame Cathedral

Bas Smets  


The team headed by Belgian landscape architect Bas Smets – and including GRAU, Neufville Gayet architectes, Ingérop, and Franck Boutté Consultants – has won the competition to transform the public spaces around Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, ravaged by a massive fire in 2019 and now being reconstructed. The project reconfigures the esplanade that the church’s main door faces, designing it as a clearing surrounded by trees and seats. This square incorporates a cooling system in the ground that generates a 5-millimeter-thin sheet of water in summer to lower temperatures in the area by several degrees. On the other hand, the parking space under the current esplanade becomes a zone for visitors, with stores, a café, and access to the crypt. The back part of the building is reimagined as a green place stretching toward the tip of the island, integrated between the apse with flying buttresses and stained glass windows and the Seine River. The scheme increases vegetation by 36%. Actual work is to begin in 2024, for completion in 2027.