France's historic cathedral can rise from the ashes and be restored to its former glory, according to Historic Building Architects founder Annabelle Radcliffe-Trenner.
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“There are ways of determining whether wood can be salvaged. There are gauges we can use to determine whether there is solid sand wood behind the char,” she said during an interview on FOX Business’ “Countdown to the Closing Bell” on Tuesday.
Historic Building Architects was the firm charged with the challenge of returning St. Bernard’s Episcopal Church to its original state. The New Jersey church was hit by an equally disastrous fire in 2004.
“There are ways to sort of look at the materials and see what can be salvaged,” Radcliffe-Trenner said when asked about whether the 850-year-old cathedral can be saved.
French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to rebuild the country’s beloved church in five years.
“We will rebuild Notre Dame even more beautifully and I want it to be completed in five years," Macron said in a televised address to the nation on Tuesday. "We can do it."
Radcliffe-Trenner said the reconstruction and restoration of the cathedral will involve a team of architects, engineers, conservators, preservationists, and wood scientists.
“This is going to be a challenge for the preservation field in France to restore this building,” she said. “How much can we preserve and keep the authenticity of this building is what needs to be evaluated.”
France's luxury-brand tycoons, Kering CEO Francois-Henri Pinault and LVMH Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault, have pledge 300 million euros (about $339 million) to reconstruct the Parisian landmark.
Radcliffe-Trenner said the restoration costs can’t be determined until there’s an investment into assessing the damage made to the masonry work affected by the fire and how much wood can be salvaged and reused.
“I think it’s going to take an awful lot [of money],” Radcliffe-Trenner said. “We of course don’t know how much damage has been done yet.”
The Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world with nearly 13 million tourists visiting the iconic church in 2018.