A €50million project for the redevelopment of the square in front of the Notre-Dame cathedral has been approved in Paris.
The plans will aim to increase vegetation and improve the appearance of the façade, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo confirmed on June 27.
A team by Brussels architecture and landscape group Bas Smets has been contracted for the project. The company will also work with the architectural and urban planning firm GRAU and the architectural firm Neufville-Gayet.
The project is set to be completed by 2027, but visitors will be able to access the area, as it grows, from 2024.
This coincides with the work being done to restore the cathedral after the devastating fire of April 2019, which destroyed its spire and much of its roof.
Read more: Notre Dame on fire
It is being funded entirely by the Ville de Paris council.
The team was chosen by the jury chaired by the Mayor of Paris, together with representatives of the public establishment in charge of Notre-Dame (EPRNDP) and the Diocese of Paris.
The plans are set to include long stretches of land with trees, to offer shade to visitors in hot weather. A total of 131 new trees will be planted, and “no tree will be felled” in the project, which will increase the area’s green space by 36%, the mayor’s office said.
Ms Hidalgo tweeted: “The Seine and the environment have a major place in our project by the Bas Smets team, chosen by the jury. All the better to highlight our beautiful cathedral and show it off, while respecting its history.”
Les abords et le parvis de Notre-Dame se transforment. La Seine et la nature ont une place majeure dans le projet de l'équipe de Bas Smets retenu par le jury. Mieux mettre en valeur notre belle cathédrale pour mieux la révéler, dans le respect de son histoire qui nous oblige. pic.twitter.com/giRmoCMYSg— Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) June 27, 2022
Part of the plans aim to face up to climate change and intense heat. There are even plans to offer a cool space for visitors with technology designed to enable water runoff on the forecourt.
A lawn behind the cathedral will also offer a good view of the architectural elements and stained glass windows of the gothic building.
Ariel Weil, mayor of the Paris Centre sector, said: "The link between the forecourt and the Seine has been created with great finesse.”
There will be a remodelled visitors’ car park on the underground level, plus an interior pathway that will lead to the crypt, and will open onto a riverside Seine walkway.
The Bas Smets team is already known as a rising star within the fields of architecture and urban garden design, having created the Parc des Ateliers around the Luma tower in Arles, and the future redeveloper of the centre of Brussels.