Comments update features Notre-Dame fire and internships in Japan
Notre-Dame Cathedral

"Even if it is rebuilt, it will not be the same"

In this week's comments update, readers grieve over the damage to Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, following a huge fire believed to be linked to renovation work.

To rebuild or not to rebuild: readers have been debating the best plan of action after the gothic cathedral was engulfed by flames last night.

"One stupid person (a worker) ignited the fire, second stupid person (a site manager) didn't supervise correctly, third stupid person chose a bad firm to do renovation works; and now the whole of humanity has lost one of the most beautiful gothic buildings in the world," commented Małgorzata Bogusław. "Even if it is rebuilt, it will not be the same!"

"I'm already closing my eyes over the horrible proposals we are about to see within the next few weeks," said KuenzelZeller.

"On the positive side, they could do a decent job on the engineering next time – get rid of those awkward flying buttresses for a start," suggested Mr Black. "Perhaps some of the architects who are leaving the UK because of Brexit will be able to bid for the work."

For one commenter, it was a simple form of grievance:

Following the fire, French president Emmanuel Macron has promised to rebuild Notre-Dame Cathedral and has already received and millions of euros have already been pledged in support.

Thoughts? Join the discussion ›


Unpaid internships Japan architecture

Open-desk culture: architects and designers in Japan defend unpaid internships, claiming "it is a strong part of the social fabric and something that helps keep Japan running so smoothly." Readers disagree.

"I've heard stories from friends that have worked for big name studios in Japan and the pay versus hours is insulting," commented NT.

"It's self righteous crap that a student or recent grad has to work for free and then work another job to pay for living. If they can't pay then don't hire, and don't give me it's cultural because that's pathetic. It's abuse and manipulation, plain and simple."

Troels Steenholdt Heiredal agreed: "There have been a lot of cultural traditions with deep roots, where it turned out it was rooted in unfairness, we can learn and grow as an industry."

One had a simple suggestion: "I think it's pretty simple: if Japanese firms are standing firm on the idea that it's part of their culture to hire unpaid interns, and students from other parts continue to find this unacceptable, then these students should just refrain from going to Japan."

This reader offers an applause:

Another, however, defends the system.

"Why doesn't anyone argue that there is a huge tuition fee difference between the UK and Japan? The entire cost of architectural training process in the UK is way more than in Japan," said Applewood.

"Open desk is part of Japanese traditional architectural training. Students gain even more knowledge and experience than in school, and offices get young energy to do more study."

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Los Angeles County Museum of Art galleries by Peter Zumthor

Boring, boring, boring: Peter Zumthor's latest plans for Los Angeles County Museum of Art have been approved and supported by none other than Brad Pitt, who says Zumthor is the "master of light and shadow".

Readers, however, aren't on board.

"Sadly, LACMA is of the opinion that you will buy a ticket to spend the day admiring the achievement of landing a Zumthor "masterpiece" on the dirt in LA rather than at its amazing collection," commented Rob.

"Why else remove half the walls and much of the installation venue in favour of light and shadow? Stupid is as stupid gets."

"There has been absolutely nothing – not a rendering, a critical journal review, a design authority or a celebrity – at any stage of this public relations sales pitch, that has convinced me that building will be successful. Zumthor is as cantilevered out there as his building," states threefloatinggorbs.

One reader even took a jab at Pitt's credentials:

To which James responded: "Surely you're not insinuating that someone (Brad Pitt, or otherwise) is to be excluded from voicing opinion on architecture just because they're not "educated" in architecture?"

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House in Toyonaka by Fujiwaramuro Architects

Personal prison: One reader took issue with this Japanese house, which embeds windows in gaps between monolithic grey boxes while maintaining privacy.

The concern was to do with the division of the bathroom.

"What does it have to do with the functionality?" said Małgorzata Bogusław. "I could understand that custom of dividing bathroom into three parts in case of the family house with a lot of inhabitants, but this is a one-person house! Totally senseless."

However the majority were pleased with the project.

"Damn, they do it right in Japan. Monastic simplicity," commented Benny. "A real attempt at making the section as important as plan and elevation. How wonderful that the exterior gives no clue to the complexity the interior elements."

"Bunker living near perfection," said Patrick Kennedy.

The positive comments didn't end there:

Could you live in this house? Join the discussion ›