Lucy Roper’s weekly Built Environment blog: Rebuilding

Posted on: 2019-04-25

Each week, UCEM Information Governance Manager, Lucy Roper points us in the direction of interesting stories from the Built Environment.

This week, in light of the Notre-Dame fire, Lucy looks at rebuilding, with stories about an initiative designed to celebrate caring for our planet, the efforts to restore Notre-Dame and a video showcasing the intricacies of the construction effort behind an American cathedral which offers hope for the Parisian reconstruction.

Celebrating Earth Day

Rebuilding isn’t always about huge projects but small steps which can be taken to preserve and protect the environment around you. On Monday (April 22), it was Earth Day which offers a useful opportunity to demonstrate how much we care about our planet.

Earth Day may have passed this year, but the suggestions for getting involved don’t end there and are worth taking a look at to see how you can make a difference.


In what is a heart-warming truth about the human condition, when faced with adversity people tend to come together. There have been countless occasions where this has proven to be the case in response to tragedies and attacks; while the fire couldn’t be described as a tragedy, Parisians held a vigil and landmarks across the world were illuminated with French colours in solidarity.


Plenty of organisations and individuals stuck their neck out in support of the rebuilding effort, whether through dishing out advice, like CIOB past president, Rebecca Thompson did for Construction Manager or through the emptying of rather large wallets.

On the latter action, commentators have raised concerns at how easy it was to raise the hundreds of millions of Euros for the Notre-Dame from those who perhaps aren’t as identifiably generous for more humanist causes but that’s not for me to comment on…


Sticking with somewhat controversial themes, President Emmanuel Macron confirmed that redesigns of the Notre-Dame’s spire would be welcomed.

Some felt it should simply be restored to its former guise, particularly so soon after the unexpected structural devastation; however, the opportunity to turn something negative into a positive is one which all architects would surely relish and should serve to inspire creative minds to build something which Parisians can be proud of again.

Leaving a legacy

With people searching for answers in the wake of the fire, work carried out by a concerned American art history professor could hold the key to a successful rebuild.

The late professor, Andrew Tallon carried out a laser scan of Notre-Dame in 2010, and his work could prove crucial over the coming months, as has been widely reported. A sample of his work is available on YouTube via the National Geographic channel which showcased Andrew’s laser-scanning of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

A fantastic story about the enduring legacy of his work, which will live on through the restoration project and proof of positive stories emerging out of the wreckage of something which, on the surface, appears only bad.

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For more from Lucy, take a look at the latest edition of Knowledge Foundations.