CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – For architects, redesigning the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral, which was destroyed by fire earlier this year, is the ultimate challenge. So when France announced the worldwide contest to restore it, a South Florida firm jumped at the opportunity.
When the Notre Dame Cathedral burned, the world watched in disbelief as did UM grad and now Coral Gables architect Cooper Copetas.READ MORE: 'Let’s All Get Healthy': MDC North Campus COVID-19 Vaccination Site Sees Steady Stream Of Those Wanting Vaccine
“Oh horror, it was horrible to watch that happen,” he said.
Born in Paris, the disaster was personal.
“When I went the Louvre with my father growing up, we’d ride right by the Notre Dame de Paris,” said the designer with SB Architects. “And every time I saw it, it was like marvel.”
Seeing his beloved landmark in ruins, Copetas couldn’t grab his pencils fast enough.
“Funny enough, I actually started the night of the fire,” he said. “Right then and there I had a vision of what I wanted to draw.”Miami-Dade Daniella Mayor Levine Cava: 'Countywide Curfew Could Be Lifted By April 5th'
While his renderings are definitely on the modern side, Copetas is hopeful hard-nosed traditionalists will embrace the change.
“Our design is a celebration, an homage to Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, the author of the spire,” Copetas said.
WATCH COPETAS’ FULL CBS4 AT 7 INTERVIEW:
So what’s the first thing he’ll say if his designs are selected?
“Yeah, alright, when do I start?” he said with a laugh.MORE NEWS: CBS4 Photojournalist Rafael Murciano Is Quite 'The Entertainer' With His Musical Talents
Copetas plans to be in Paris next month to discuss his proposal with city officials.