Christ­church’s cardboard cathedral

This item appears on page 68 of the November 2013 issue.

­In Christ­church, New Zealand, after the Cathedral in the Square was badly damaged in the 2011 earthquakes, the church decided to construct a Transitional Cathedral while deciding whether or not to rebuild the primary cathedral. 

The walls of the triangular-shaped Transitional Cathedral, designed by Shigeru Ban, comprise 98 massive cardboard tubes up to 20 meters long. The tubes are strong, fireproof, waterproofed with polyurethane and flexible enough to withstand earthquakes. The building has a concrete floor, laminated-wood supporting beams, a polycarbonate roof and a large stained-glass window.

Expected to last 50 years, the cathedral opened in August 2013 and can seat 700. Located about five minutes’ walk from the damaged Cathedral in the Square, the Transitional Cathedral (234 Hereford St., Christchurch) is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.