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Christchurch plans cardboard cathedral

Wood and timber products in buildings are usually not of the cardboard and paper type, but in Christchurch, New Zealand a temporary cardboard cathedral will be built at a cost of NZ$5 million ($3.9 million).

The Anglican Church revealed plans for a temporary cathedral to be designed by a Japanese paper artist after the original cathedral was severely damaged during the NZ earthquakes.

The first sod for Christchurch’s new cardboard cathedral has been turned with the Japanese architect flying in especially for the ceremony.

The new temporary building will be constructed in nearby Latimer Square.

The A-frame structure will be made of cardboard tubes, timber beams, structural steel, and concrete and it is expected to last 20 years and attract tourists due to its structural qualities.

With seating for 700, the building will also provide a venue for concerts, exhibitions, civic and community events.

Designer Shigeru Ban with associate architect Yoshie Narimatsu has contributed his time and donated the building’s design to the church – it is the largest emergency structure he has worked on.

Mr Ban said that the strength of the building has nothing to do with the strength of the materials. He should know as he has built similar structures in many countries.

The cathedral will be weatherproof, fire resistant and secure.

Completion of the build is expected to be sometime in November. The church said that Christchurch architectural firm Warren and Mahoney will be commissioned to undertake detailed design.