Zachary Stewart, an assistant architecture professor and architectural historian at Texas A&M University who specializes in medieval gothic architecture, is available to discuss the Notre Dame fire with media.
Stewart was given special access to Notre Dame during his Ph.D. study at Columbia University and can speak to the historic and religious significance of the architecture, how and why similar buildings have been damaged, and what will happen next with potential to restore the site.
“Notre Dame is an emblem of the city and has been for centuries,” Stewart said. “It was the first Gothic building that went to skyscraper heights and is where many of the elements that we associate with Gothic architecture and that era came together for the first time.”
“While some important religious objects cannot be replaced, Notre Dame can bounce back with the right amount of funding and public enthusiasm,” he said. “The most recent example was the French cathedral at Reims, which was destroyed in World War I and completely rebuilt.”
“The cathedral is a mother church of a diocese,” he said. “For many people, it is like losing a parent. I’ve seen people today lamenting the loss. It reminds us of how tangential life is.”
Media contact: Richard Nira, communications coordinator, College of Architecture communications office, firstname.lastname@example.org, 979-845-6863.