• Cardboard to give new life to Christchurch Cathedral

    22 October 2011

    A powerful earthquake in February badly damaged the Anglican Cathedral in Christchurch, NZ, collapsing the bell tower of the stone building built in 1864. Another tremor in June further damaged the structure, shattering its stained glass panels on the front of the building.

    Japanese architect Shigeru Ban is using an unlikely construction material, cardboard, to fashion a new cathedral – a temporary building that will likely be used for about a decade and is hoping to complete construction in time for the first anniversary of the disaster. Ban undertook the project for free after staff at the cathedral requested his assistance.

    Based in Tokyo, he has built provisional homes made of cardboard around the world for people displaced by disasters and is also involved in a similar project, this time with containers, for victims of the 11 March earthquake in Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan.

    “I decided to make use of the cathedral’s geometric shape because it has been etched in the memories of residents,” Ban said. “Even concrete buildings collapse in a tremor, demonstrating that no structure lasts forever. But a cardboard structure will stay in the minds of people forever if it is loved by them.”

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