The winner of the design competition for the new Cathédrale Notre Dame de l’Assomption in Port-au-Prince, Haiti was unveiled today. The winning design was selected from among 134 entrants who submitted proposals for the replacement the former cathedral, which was destroyed in the 2012 Haiti earthquake.

Design rendering of the new Port-au-Prince Cathedral, designed by Segundo Cardona of Puerto Rico. (Photo source)

Segundo Cardona and a team of six other architects from Puerto Rico submitted the winning design. The façade of the original cathedral is integrated into the new design and serves as the entry point to a sheltered, outdoor courtyard that leads to the new 1,200-seat worship space. Large, retractable walls will open to the courtyard for special occasions to accommodate an additional 600 worshippers.

The proposed interior of the new Port-au-Prince Cathedral features a centralized altar and circular seating pattern. (Photo source)

The centralized altar and seating plan allow for a large number of people to remain close to the altar. The interior of the new cathedral is marked with creative and abundant use of natural light, as electricity in Port-au-Prince is intermittent and expensive.  The shape of the ceiling emphasizes a movement towards the oculus and also focuses attention on the altar. The Stations of the Cross ring the parameter of the worship space and can be viewed both from the main church and the ambulatory.
The floorplan of the new Port-au-Prince Cathedral. (Photo source.)
It is certainly exciting to see progress being made on the reconstruction of such an important cultural and religious site in Port-au-Prince. Surely, this new cathedral will serve as a beacon of hope and new point of pride of the Haitian people. It’s also quite exciting to see the contemporary arts so creatively engaged in this new project.

To see more on the proposed design, as well as the second and third place winners, visit the Cathedral’s design competition website.

It’s also worth noting that just down the street at Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, the Arlington, Virginia-based Kerns Group Architects has been selected for that reconstruction project. The design for the new Episcopal cathedral will incorporate three surviving murals from the old cathedral that were painted by Haitian artists and include Haitian people in biblical scenes.

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