Japanese architect to build cardboard cathedral in earthquake-devastated Christchurch

cardboard cathedral in new zealand

After a massive 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch it left 185 people dead and brought down a lot of buildings including the city’s magnificent Gothic revival cathedral. With not many places left for frequent Church visitors to pray, the city called in Japanese architect Shigeru Ban to build a new cathedral as a replacement for the one that was devastated. Since the city was in need of a church immediately, the architect planned to build a place of worship using cardboard.

The cardboard cathedral is now taking shape on the city’s skyline and will be made using cardboard tubes having a diameter of 24-inches. The new church will have a simple A-frame with cardboard tubes coated with waterproof polyurethane and flame retardants. The new structure will be able to hold 700 people and will be a huge milestone towards the recovery of the city.

Ban, an architect known for his work with recycled materials such as cardboard, believes that architects over the world are mostly building structures for the privileged that have all the money they want to build striking buildings. He however says that architects should realize their social responsibility and build more for the public – people who have lost their homes through natural disasters.

Discovery News states that the new cardboard cathedral is due to be completed in April next year and will have a concrete base with cardboard tubes forming two sides of the A-frame and containers helping hold the walls together. One end of the cathedral will be filled with stained glass and a polycarbon roof will protect the occupants and the architecture from the elements. While the cathedral will have an expected lifespan of 50 years, Church authorizes envision it being used for just a decade, until a permanent structure is built.

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