Cardboard Cathedral

234 Hereford St, Christchurch Central, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand

Following a powerful earthquake in February 2011, the Christchurch Cathedral was severely damaged, and while there is an ongoing ideological and economic debate over whether or not the Gothic-style church can, or should be, repaired, the Anglican parishioners of New Zealand‘s second-largest city can now worship in this fascinating edifice made of, among other things, 96 giant cardboard tubes. Designed by Shigeru Ban, a Japanese architect who specializes in building temporary structures following natural disasters, the Cardboard Cathedral (formerly called Christchurch’s Transitional Cathedral), was erected in less than a year. Its excellent acoustics are also regularly utilized for concerts and events.

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Christchurch Transitional Cathedral

Designed to replace the cathedral lost in the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, the Christchurch Transitional Cathedral, also known as the Cardboard Cathedral, was originally conceived by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Shigeru Ban to last 50 years. When it came time to build, though, it was erected as a permanent structure, one that will endure as an icon of the city’s resilience and creativity in recovery. Bolstered by wood, steel and polycarbonate, thick cardboard tubes form the roof structure, and shipping containers are used for the walls. Nearby, visitors can see the site of the original cathedral, as well as a moving memorial installation of 185 chairs, each representing one of the souls lost in the earthquake.

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