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Interviews

Indian firm, Axes in Excess, creates a kinetic roof full of symbolism for Notre-Dame design


The Axes in Excess Team share their inspiration and process behind their parametric Notre-Dame design.
Indian firm, Axes in Excess, creates a kinetic roof full of symbolism for Notre-Dame design

by GoArchitect Staff

2 months ago


Axes in Excess

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

We come from India, a land comprising of assorted forms of art, architecture and culture and our team is a conjunction of individuals from diverse walks of life, together to be entrusted with the responsibility for not only yielding articulated design but to come forward with solutions crafted after much research. We all met in an organization and in no time the synergetic effect of our traits led to the discovery of Axes in Excess.

Axes in Excess is a firm believer in design be it in any form. We celebrate architecture and its various segments without limiting ourselves to any particular genre. Each one of us bring something exquisite to the table leaving enough room for the others to collaborate, explore and improvise with us.

  1. Shahnaz Gulshan is an Architect and a curious & keen design enthusiast who is always on the verge of creating something out of anything that surrounds us.
  2. Sadique Hussain is a Designer who with his immense knowledge & expertise breathes life into our Design & propels our innovation further. 
  3. Anjan Kumar Sahu , Founder Director of Ardberry Technology Private Limited is an Automation Engineer who is intrigued with designs where the structures are kinetic and interactive, therefore resolving the communication gap between man & structures.
  4. Anmol Mathur is a Engineer by degree but his love for arts and lighting ignites his passion for surrealism thus compelling him to transform his visions & concepts into reality.
  5. Rajesh Sharma is our Project Manager who excels in handling the project right from material research to manufacture to execution. His tremendous dedication further fuels us to keep moving.
  6. Himanshu Modi is a Chartered Accountant by profession and is the Chief Business Developer. His extraordinary skills with numbers combined with his knowledge has helped us achieve the impossible.

What inspired you to enter the Notre-Dame design competition?

The first time that we heard about Notre Dame was while reciting the popular poem Notre Dame de Paris by Monsieur Nerval. With passing time it resurfaced again in the novel 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' by Victor Hugo which created a buzz. Spiking our interest the third time it was covered in our architectural course as the finest example of French Gothic Architecture, possibly the most notable & iconic cathedral all across the globe thus creating a permanent niche.
It further amplified after our visit to the cathedral in its full glory with its grandeur, proportion and the juxtaposition of light & shade which despite of several restoration & renovation, stood the test of time.

However on 15th April, 2019 the devastating news of the fire broke out shaking us to the core as we re-lived it over & over again through TV Channels & Social Media Websites, each video & photo posted was more terrifying than the last. We took to praying not only for Notre Dame or France but the entire world who waited with baited breath witnessing the flames which engulfed Notre Dame for 15 hours, through blurred vision. Right after the shocking incident various design proposals started floating around which prompted us to do our part in providing justice to the original design while also keeping in mind the recent turn of events.

How does your design celebrate the past and future of Notre-Dame?

Notre Dame will never ever be the same again and the design from the past had actually created a significant learning for us since the entire roof had a skeletal timber structure and a lead covered roof because of which the roof was ablaze for 15 hours and the melting of approx. 440 tons of lead caused toxic lead contamination. The future is yet to be decided, having said that we decided to work on our concept which basically revolved around the fact that Notre Dame has suffered a setback and like a phoenix it has to rise from the ashes stronger, sharper and smarter.
Notre Dame De Paris signifies as “Our Lady of Paris” in English. Our ardent research on Notre Dame’s past led us to the winged representation of the Virgin Mary cited frequently throughout Catholic Chronicles. The wings in general comprises of feathers and those feathers orient according to specific needs for instance they puff out their feathers or flutter their wings to let the circulating air reach their hot skin. They may also hold their wings away from their bodies to lower their body temperature.


This entire mechanism transformed into our concept for the roof. Therefore we decided to create a kinetic & automated roof in the form of wings consisting of openable panels for light & ventilation. The skeletal framework of a wing is to be replicated as structural members to enhance the support system of the roof. The roof will be accomplished using carbon fibre since this material can be thinner than a strand of hair and yet be five times stronger than steel. The kinetic roof also gives a sense of a flutter since the panels re-align themselves according to the sun thus offering light & shade as required. It is an intelligent and interactive structure which appears in the form of swirling wings, and the feathers act just like a bird in the breeze which breathe throughout the day according to the time, temperature, Sun location and wind direction.

 

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