Paris Mayor Bernard Delanoe has described a Russian Orthodox church to be built along the River Seine as an example of “hodgepodge architecture” not worthy to be on display near the Eiffel Tower. Delanoe said the project – a gleaming white church with five traditional golden domes topped by an wavy glass roof linking it to a nearby Russian spiritual and cultural centre – was “mediocre architecture conceived in haste.”
The project, whose design was chosen in an international architectural competition, was agreed in 2010 by Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Dmitry Medvedev of Russia. Moscow has already purchased a plot of land for it on the left bank of the Seine, just across the river from the tunnel where Britain’s Princess Diana died in a car crash in 1997.
“I want to express my very firm opposition to this project conceived by the French and Russian states without the agreement of the city of Paris,” Delanoe said in a statement this week. “I would like UNESCO, the guardian of the banks of the Seine, to get involved so no permission can be given without the endorsement of international experts,” he said.
Paris-based UNESCO, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has granted world heritage status to the banks of the Seine and the various styles of French architecture adorning them.