WORK on a $5-million cardboard cathedral for the
earthquake-damaged city of Christchurch, in New Zealand, will start
this week, despite a refusal by the city council to part-fund
The temporary cathedral, to be built
from cardboard, will replace the historic building that was
seriously damaged in an earthquake last year, and in successive
smaller quakes. The original building is currently being brought
down to a safe height by demolition experts (
News, 9 March).
The Chapter of Christchurch Cathedral
asked the city council for $240,000 to help to fund visitor and
community support to the "transitional" cathedral, which will seat
up to 700. But councillors said that better uses could be made of
The former Dean of the cathedral, the
Very Revd Peter Beck, is now a city councillor. He did not take
part in the vote because of his links to the cathedral. He said,
however, that he was disappointed by the decision.
He said that the
transitional-cathedral project was an exciting one that was drawing
The cathedral has been designed by the
Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, using cardboard tubes as well as
timber beams, structural steel, and a concrete pad. It is intended
to last more than 20 years. It is the largest "emergency structure"
to be designed by Mr Ban, who has contributed his time free of
charge, and made a gift of the building's design to the cathedral,
diocese, and city.
The Acting Dean, the Ven. Lynda
Patterson, said: "We are disappointed the grant was declined. But
we hope once the transitional cathedral is built and serving the
community, the civic benefits might be more visibly
She continued: "This decision strikes
at the heart of cathedral ministry in the city. Our funding
shortfall threatens many activities which are integral to what we
do. The veggie co-op, which feeds over 800 families each week,
civic services like the Antarctic service, ANZAC Day citizens'
service, and the ongoing life of our internationally acclaimed
choir are all potentially under threat.
"It casts doubt on whether we can
remain open seven days a week, 365 days a year. In the mean time,
we are carrying on trying to do work which benefits the city."