A "cardboard cathedral" for New Zealand?

A "cardboard cathedral" for New Zealand? July 31, 2011

The innovative design for a temporary structure — that could serve as Christchurch’s cathedral for several years — was unveiled yesterday.


Christchurch leaders have revealed the unconventional design they want to use for the city’s temporary Cathedral and it is made out of cardboard.

They hope to have it built by the first anniversary of this year’s major earthquake.

The design has been presented by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, who is known for building temporary structures after natural disasters.

A church he built in Kobe, Japan, after the 1995 earthquake served the Catholic community there for eleven years.

Christchurch’s temporary Cathedral would be built from a combination of reinforced, waterproofed cardboard and shipping containers. This would allow it to be easily relocated or recycled once the permanent church is completed.

Mr Ban’s design, which he hopes to build with the help of local students, has got church and city leaders excited.

Reverend Peter Beck, the ChristChurch Cathedral dean, says the design has a nice feel about it.

“It’s almost tent-like, and I like the idea of pitching our tent,” says Mr Beck. “It’s a very Christian concept actually; pitching our tent in the middle of the city. It’s almost got a marae essence about it too.”

Christchurch mayor Bob Parker says the design is a physical way of showing hope.

“It could be a multi-purpose space too, so that it might actually help us with orchestras, choirs, and other things.”

Mr Ban says although they are not meant to be permanent, his cardboard designs are built to last.

“Even the building made in paper can be permanent, as long as people love it.”

The church and the council are still searching for a suitable location for the temporary church.

At an estimated cost of $4 million, even cardboard does not come cheap.

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