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Christchurch's Cardboard Cathedral completed


August 7, 2013

Christchurch's new temporary cathedral (Photo: Shigeru Ban Architects)

Christchurch's new temporary cathedral (Photo: Shigeru Ban Architects)

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Work has been completed on Christchurch's temporary Cardboard Cathedral designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban.

The building was commissioned when the 6.3-magnitude Christchurch earthquake of February 2011 caused irreparable damage to Christchurch Cathedral. The cathedral is partly comprised of cardboard tubes which are a signature of Shigeru Ban's work. Ninety-eight such tubes form decorative beams, concealing timber structural beams within. Shipping containers also figure in the cathedral's construction.

According to a report in New Zealand's The Press newspaper, Scott Watson of main contractor Naylor Love handed over a symbolic key (made out of cardboard, suitably enough) to Bishop Victoria Matthews during an emotional ceremony during which the cathedral was handed over to the Anglican diocese.

The cathedral was originally due to open in February, but construction has been delayed on more than one occasion, The Press reports. The cathedral is due to open to worshippers on August 11. With a lifespan put in the order of 50 years, it will hopefully serve admirably until plans are settled upon and funds raised for a permanent replacement.

Update Aug. 13, 2013: This article has been edited to clarify that the cardboard beams are decorative rather than structural, as was previously stated.

Sources: Shigeru Ban, The Press, via Dezeen

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life. All articles by James Holloway

Actually the beams inside the tubes are steel, the Press article linked to is inaccurate.


Well, not quite. The cardboard tubes are hollow and inside are wooden beams that hold up the structure. The cardboard is decoration.

They had a few tubes to wet and soggy and needed to replace some of the tubes which was no problem since there really is a timber structure underneath.


Paul van Dinther
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