A few days from second anniversary of the fire of Notre Dame from Paris, those responsible for its reconstruction organized this Saturday a virtual visit in which it was possible to see the scaffolding forest that surrounds the walls to consolidate the structure before beginning the reconstruction.
General Jean-Louis Georgelin, who is responsible for coordinating the works, explained in the transmission issued by the social media that, according to its schedule, the restoration itself “has to start in the second half of 2021”. “Now,” he stressed, “my concern is to get a rigorous planning to set our way for the reopening to worship in 2024“.
It will also be in 2024, although everything is not finished, when they can resume sightseeing to one of the most emblematic buildings of the French capital, whose history was marked by the fire that was declared on the afternoon of April 15, 2019 on the roof, in an area where renovations were being carried out.
The visible traces of the accident
The footprints of the needle sinking of the cathedral in the transept, which was the most spectacular and tragic moment of the incident, are still well perceptible, particularly on the ground that, as Georgelin showed, “was totally destroyed” in that area. There it was necessary to remove all the vestiges that had collapsed, in the first place with robots because the entry of people was dangerous due to the risk of landslides.
One of the most delicate tasks in this phase was disassemble the scaffolding surrounding the needle, a total of 300 tons of metal parts that were extracted with articulated cranes and with specialists in work at height. That ended at the end of 2020.
Efforts are now continuing to consolidate vaults and in parallel – the general pointed out – a thousand oaks have been selected in a forest in western France that will serve to remake the roof under the spire.
A lead dust that permeates everything
The fire melted the lead plates on the deck, which volatilized an extremely polluting dust that partly precipitated on the building itself and that not only forced to use special techniques to extract it from the walls and paintings, but also slowed down the work.
In the protocols of this reconstruction that is intended exemplary from the point of view of occupational safety, it has been established that every time you enter and leave the premises you have to shower to get rid of that lead dust that permeates everything.
Amélie Strack, a specialist in sculpture and stone restoration, who is currently in charge of cleaning the Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe, told how they started with a mechanical vacuum cleaner before using laser pencils for the joints and for polychromies and products that do not contain abrasive elements. “Each work is unique. You have to think about the procedure, “says Strack.
The great organ was one of the elements that was saved of the fire, but its 8,000 tubes had to be dismantled and removed from the cathedral, for which four containers and a trailer were necessary. Uruguayan Mario d’Amico takes care of that, and reassembling them, who emphasized that an organ “is delicate like a violin” and that to handle these tin tubes you have to wear gloves because they are very delicate.
The virtual visit allowed to see how the color of the paintings regains vitality They were preserved from the restoration that Eugène Viollet le Duc directed in the middle of the 19th century in the Saint Ferdinand chapel.