It’s been just over a week since a fire consumed Notre Dame’s 300-foot spire and part of its roof. Architectural firms across the globe are already pitching ideas for reconstruction, which may seem like a hopeful statement. But, honestly, these people should probably go back to the drawing board. Literally.

Foster + Partners, a British studio, had the bright idea to replace the lead-coated oak spire with one made of glass and steel. In case that statement doesn’t fret you just a bit, keep in mind that Notre Dame isn’t exactly a glass-and-steel kind of joint. It’s an 850-year-old cathedral, one that doesn’t need a 21st century influence to be beautiful.

Neither France’s prime minister nor its president discouraged this kind of postmodern artistry, however. When calling for artists to pitch ideas for the reconstruction, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said he expected “a spire suited to the techniques and challenges of our time.”

Likewise, President Emmanuel Macron said not that the cathedral should be restored to its former glory, but that it should be “more beautiful than before.”

Notre Dame is centuries old, and it doesn’t need a glass spire to keep it relevant. Why “perfect” an already gorgeous cathedral? Because it’s 2019, and anything done in the past is supposedly inferior to what we could do with modern art and artistry now.

As architects pitch ideas for reconstruction, they should bear in mind that Notre Dame doesn’t need to be better. And for it to retain its value as a cultural icon, it need not bear any resemblance to the art styles of the current century.

It just needs to be there as it has been, to have a roof and a spire. Doubtless, young architects think finding clever iterations of a cathedral spire will help their pitches stand out. But the greatest contribution to Notre Dame would be to restore its beauty, not to try to perfect it.

In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Victor Hugo’s classic novel that is credited with saving the cathedral, the author explains how Notre Dame’s modifications over the centuries have developed it and given it meaning:

Great edifices, like great mountains, are the work of centuries. Art often undergoes a transformation while they are pending, pendent opera interrupta; they proceed quietly in accordance with the transformed art. The new art takes the monument where it finds it, incrusts itself there, assimilates it to itself, develops it according to its fancy, and finishes it if it can. The thing is accomplished without trouble, without effort, without reaction, — following a natural and tranquil law. … The man, the artist, the individual, is effaced in these great masses, which lack the name of their author; human intelligence is there summed up and totalized.

For Notre Dame to be restored and once again attract millions of visitors each year, it doesn’t need a shiny new spire. It needs architecture to fade into the existing edifice, a renovation that becomes not a statement in itself, but a part of the larger story.