Two-and-a-half years after a deadly magnitude-6.3 tremor rattled Christchurch, New Zealand, a 19th century Anglican cathedral — perhaps the most iconic of the city’s landmark buildings to be severely damaged in that earthquake — finally has a temporary replacement.
And it’s made mostly of cardboard.
After a controversial deconsecration and demolition process that began in the spring of 2012 and was halted some months later by a high court judge in a move that was considered a victory for local preservationists, the ChristChurch Cathedral is once again open for services in a transitional home designed by none other than disaster relief housing specialist, environmentalist, and cardboard building proselytizer, the lauded “emergency architect” Shigeru Ban.
The guy to call when you want to build a temporary structure out of cardboard following a devastating earthquake, Christchurch’s Cardboard Cathedral — or “Transitional Cathedral” — isn’t the first house of worship that waste-sensitive, Tokyo-born Ban has erected using the recyclable, low-cost, and remarkably resilient material: his pro-bono, paper tube-based “Paper Dome” was erected to temporarily replace the Takatori Catholic Church following the Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995. It is undoubtedly, however, his most dramatic.
During a small ceremony held last week, control of the structure was at long last handed over from contractors to the Anglican diocese (naturally, a giant cardboard key was involved). Yesterday, the building was officially opened to the public; on Aug. 11 the church will host its first Sunday services. Additionally, a grand dedication service is scheduled for Aug. 15.
Bishop Victoria Matthews was overcome with emotion during the Aug. 2 key ceremony. “It's really quite overwhelming. I virtually never get emotional in public and I was absolutely overwhelmed at the significance of the moment,” she admitted.
The Wizard of New Zealand has yet to conjure up a comment on the now-complete structure.
Daytime photos: Schwede66/WikimediaCommons
Related on MNN:
The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of MNN.com. While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.