Puerto Rican firm SCF Arquitectos just won a competition with their plans to restore the Nouvelle Cathédrale Notre Dame de l’Assomption (Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption) in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The Cathedral has sat in ruins since the devastating January 2010 earthquake and now it will be renovated and restored to glory. SCF Arquitectos' plan will preserve and stabilize what was left of the original church and then create new spaces to accommodate the needs of the local Catholic community. The design includes a large covered outdoor area and a new nave - all of which will be naturally daylit and ventilated.
The 2010 earthquake all but destroyed the historical Cathedral, a source of national pride. After removing the ruble, the shell of the church has remained, but soon construction will begin to restore what is left of the ruins and build a new place of worship. SCF Arquitectos was one of many international firms to propose a solution and they were recently awarded first place for their design that respects the historic space, but also creates new and modern spaces for all to use. The restoration and construction will be completed in a number of phases, each creating new spaces for the church and city communities. A traditional cruciform shape will still be used for the new layout, but more modern interpretations for worship space will be employed.
First to be completed will be the restoration and shoring up of the original ornate facade. Two buttresses will flank and stabilize the narthex and eventually the buttresses will be extended to the height of the original belltowers. After the narthex is stable, a new covered outdoor space will be constructed using a glass fiber reinforced concrete ceiling. Perforations in the shape of crosses will cast patterned light on the space below and a tensile roof structure will provide protection from the rain. The next phase will create the main worship space made up of concentric rings and capable of holding 1,200 people and a smaller chapel will be built off the end. Natural daylighting and ventilation will be employed to reduce energy use and local materials and craftsmen will be employed to support the local economy.
Images ©SCF Arquitectos