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Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral, which was nearly totally lost to fire in April 2019, will be rebuilt as it was, the French government says, defying the calls of modernist architects to seize the opportunity to give the medieval masterpiece a glass and steel overhaul.

The French government has condoned a 3,000-page report by the National Commission for Heritage and Architecture calling for a full and faithful rebuild of Notre Dame cathedral, in a move which French newspaper Le Monde notes will annoy “the concrete lobby and iron lovers”.

Within days of the enormous fire that engulfed the landmark Paris building, architects were vying to release audacious design concepts for a potential modernist redesign of the cathedral, given its roof and interior had been totally stripped out by the blaze. The possibility that this insult could be added to the injury of the fire was made greater when French president Emmanuel Macron — himself given to grandiose and even absurd ideas — said he wanted the cathedral to have an “inventive reconstruction” with a “contemporary architectural gesture”.

View of the Notre Dame Cathedral, Friday, July 10, 2020 in Paris. Notre Dame Cathedral will be rebuilt just the way it stood before

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