New Zealand's cardboard cathedral dedicated

(Photo: Christchurch Cathedral)
The cardboard cathedral created by Shigeru Ban's Emergency Architecture

The New Zealand city of Christchurch has dedicated its transitional cardboard cathedral after the original concrete building was damaged beyond repair by an earthquake.

The stunning temporary replacement is the creation of Japanese architect Shigeru Ban and was constructed using over 90 cardboard tubes.

The tubes measure over 20m in length and 600mm in diameter and are protected by a polycarbonate roof and solid concrete floor.

The original cathedral was badly damaged by the 2011 earthquake in which 185 people died. It was written off earlier this year and plans are now afoot to build a permanent new cathedral in the city.

Cathedral officials were attracted to cardboard for the temporary replacement as the material is strong enough to withstand earthquakes as well as being recyclable and affordable.

Although it is transitional, the structure has been built to last at least 50 years.

Acting Dean, the Venerable Lynda Patterson said there was still a lot of work to be done, including installing a permanent heating system and building more toilet facilities.

"Undoubtedly there will be times when we will be disappointed. We will have expectations which aren't fulfilled - because expectations are really just premeditated resentments," she said.

"We're still enjoying being in a new home, but ultimately the thing about home isn't where the light switches are or that new smell of glue and fresh paint.

"It's what you can do there, and who you can welcome, and how you can show hospitality and the transforming love of God. Let's work so we're known for that, not the fact that we have a cathedral made of cardboard."

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