Built as an extension of the original building designed by Charles-Gustave Stoskopf, Notre Dame de Créteil cathedral rises through two shell-like structures like a liturgical torch, symbol of a vibrant community life.
The Créteil Cathedral, originally built by Charles-Gustave Stoskopf, winner of the Prix de Rome award, characterizes the modesty of an architectural style based on the “burrowing theory” typical of the 1970s. It is part of the modern heritage of the city of Créteil. A major expansion project was launched in 2009 to double the building's capacity and enhance its visibility.
Far beyond mere renovation, this involved a major redefinition of the site, instilling it with new architectural life in terms of symbolic and spiritual meaning. The new cathedral takes its place in a multicultural city, home to five Catholic churches, ten synagogues, a mosque, a Protestant temple, four evangelical churches, a Buddhist temple and a Baha'i congregation.
The bell tower, detached from the building at the corner of the forecourt, marks the entrance to the site with its slender silhouette, accented by the three bells of the former bell tower. The pointed dome restores its presence to the cathedral and defines a new “presence” next to the large residential buildings that surround it. The forecourt and the new landscaped cathedral square breathe new life into the surrounding space and redefine it, imbuing it with the dynamism of congregational life.
The two architectural styles, based on different but of coherent geometries, engage in a continuous dialog. The dome, raising towards the sky, has retained the almond-shaped design of the original cathedral. A monumental structure consisting of two wooden-clad spherical shells, like two hands joined in prayer above the altar, 20 meters in height, has been added to accommodate a circular podium. The existing choir stand has been redesigned, and the pews are wound around it in a semicircle. In the daytime, the stained glass windows, located at the junction of the two shells, shed tinted light on the choir, while at night, the stained glass windows illuminated from inside, become the city's symbol of a living Christian community.