Friday, April 20, 2012

A cardboard cathedral... no, really!

Remember the New Zealand earthquake and the loss of the historic Christ Church Cathedral?  Guess what.  It may be replaced -- at least temporarily -- with a cardboard cathedral.

The Anglican Church today revealed plans for the "transitional" cathedral designed by a top Japanese "paper architect".

While debate rages over the decision by the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch to demolish the crippled city centre landmark, work will start on the temporary A-frame building in nearby Latimer Square next week.  Constructed with cardboard tubes, timber beams, structural steel, and concrete, it is expected to last 20 years and will become the new place of worship for the city's St John's parish, whose church, vicarage and hall had to be demolished after the February 22 shake.

With seating for 700, the building will also provide a venue for concerts, with the church saying it will host the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra as well as pop stars Dave Dobbyn and Bic Runga.

The church said today that the capital cost for the new cathedral, as well as supporting buildings, has been estimated at $4m to $5m.

"The bulk of the money is in hand but there will be further fundraising to meet the costs of building the temporary structure," Mr Gray said.

A feasibility study was conducted with a $50,000 donation from the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust.
It is the largest 'emergency structure' to be designed by Shigeru Ban who, with the support of associate architect Yoshie Narimatsu, has contributed his time free of charge and gifted the building's design to the cathedral, Anglican Diocese and city.

Ban, known as "an emergency architect" who has built temporary houses in post-disaster centres, including Japan, Turkey, China, Italy, and Haiti said cardboard was the ideal building product for the new cathedral.
"The strength of the building has nothing to do with the strength of the material," he said.

"Even concrete buildings can be destroyed by earthquakes very easily. But paper buildings cannot be destroyed by earthquakes.

"It's also consistently low-cost. Normally after disasters the price of building materials goes higher, but since this is not a traditional building material, it's very easy to get."

The cathedral would be weatherproof, fire resistant and secure, the architect said.

Stay tuned for more... construction is believed to begin in November if it gets all the go-aheads!

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