Architectural Firm Proposes Giving Notre-Dame Cathedral a Rooftop Swimming Pool
Photo courtesy Ulf Mejergren Architects via Twitter
Following the horrific fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in mid-April, architects around the world began planning ideas for how to help restore the holy site’s roof and famed spire, both of which were lost to the blaze. And like the answer to a prayer that no one actually prayed, a Swedish architectural firm has come forward with a solution that likely doesn’t have a hope in heaven of coming to fruition: installing a Notre-Dame Cathedral rooftop swimming pool.
Yes, you read that right — a rooftop swimming pool.
A rendering of the proposed rooftop pool can be seen in the image above and, according to WorldArchitecture.org, the firm behind the pool idea, Ulf Mejergren Architects (UMA), calls it, “a complementary spatial experience to the building that will match the awe of the great interior; a space for thinking and self-reflection.”
Match the awe of the great interior? There’s nothing awe-inspiring about a group of sunburnt tourists in Speedos playing Marco Polo atop one of the world’s most iconic cathedrals.
More importantly, though, the idea of putting a pool on the roof of one of the world’s grandest and most historic cathedrals raises many questions. To start, is the pool filled with holy water or regular water? Can it be used for baptisms? Will there be a swim-up confessional? How will parishioners feel when, during mass, a random beach ball comes bouncing through the church from the roof above? And what, exactly, will the protocol be for wearing an inflatable pool float around your waist as you wait to receive communion? And God help you, literally, if you pee in this pool.
UMA offers precious few answers to these questions, though they did note in the WorldArchitecture.org piece that, in their rendering, “The spire is gone, but the twelve statues of the apostles that [were] put away during the restoration and managed to escape the fire, are once again back at the roof, now as guardians around a large public pool that occupies the whole roof.”
So the 12 apostles, who, in the Christian faith, served as the primary followers and disciples of Jesus Christ and witnesses to his miraculous workings, would now serve as glorified lifeguards, complete, we can only assume, with red vests, inner tubes and a dab of sunblock on their noses?
And let’s not pretend that this idea will remain exclusive to Notre-Dame. If the rooftop cathedral pool were to come to fruition and prove a popular tourist destination, imagine how many similar “complimentary spatial experiences” would pop up at other holy sites. Next thing you know, the Vatican’s installing a water slide while daily Super Soaker fights take over the Sistine Chapel.
Of course, the combination holy site/water park could have its upside. After all, the Catholic Church is always looking for new ways to increase attendance and bring young people back to the faith. The opportunity for a pre and post-mass pool party is one way to do it.
The rest of us will just have to get used to hearing people shout “Cannonball!” during the homily.
God help us.