The Transitional 'cardboard' Cathedral

Emergency Architecture Christchurch / New Zealand / 2013

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32 Love 6,277 Visits Published
On February 22nd, 2011, Christchurch experienced a devastating earthquake. 185 people lost their lives. More than 80% of buildings in the central city were either destroyed or damaged beyond repair. The spire of Christchurch’s iconic ‘Cathedral in the Square’ collapsed. The remainder of the building was severely damaged. In May of 2011, plans began toward building a transitional cathedral. The ‘Cardboard’ Cathedral Project was born. The February 2011 Christchurch earthquake (magnitude 6.3) inflicted crippling damage on the Christchurch Cathedral which was the symbol of city. In response to this situation, we were asked to design new temporary cathedral. Paper tubes of the equal length and 20 ft containers form triangular shape. Since geometry is decided by plan and elevations of the original Cathedral, there is a gradual change in each angle of paper tubes. This cathedral, which has a capacity of 700 people, can be used as an event space and a concert space. There was a media conference in Christchurch on 31st of July, 2011. Recently completed, this building gives to the city a memorial space, and a versatile venue for music, exhibitions, community activities and civic events. The Transitional ‘Cardboard’ Cathedral concept was created by internationally reknowned architect Shigeru Ban. He specialises in designing temporary public buildings and homes for people anywhere in the world who are affected by natural disasters. Shigeru has given his time pro-bono to this project, visiting Christchurch post earthquake, on average, every six weeks. Shigeru is ably supported on the Transitional ‘Cardboard’ Cathedral Project by a talented and dedicated team of local consultants and contractors. Between them, consultants, contractors and suppliers have contributed in money, services and supplies, over $1.3 million NZ. New Zealand Construction Company Naylor Love, completed the building on a ‘zero profit’ basis. The Transitional ‘Cardboard’ Cathedral is situated next to the Canterbury Television site where 115 people died on February 22, 2011. Of these, 13 were students from the City of Toyama, attending a language school in the building. Two more Japanese students were severely injured. A Memorial Sculpture in memory of the Japanese who died will soon be situated in the foyer of the Transitional ‘Cardboard’ Cathedral. A Chapel of Memories in the main body of the building will provide a place for people to gather and remember those whose lives were lost and those who continue to suffer. Interest in Shigeru Ban’s unique design has been extensive and ongoing. International and national media have followed the project from its beginnings and continue to request information post completion. The Sydney Morning Herald selected the building as one of their 2013 ‘top ten places’ to visit in the world. Leading English architecture and design magazine ‘BluePrint’ featured the Transitional ‘Cardboard’ Cathedral on the front cover of their September 2013 Issue as a building universally celebrated for its unique design and construction. The Transitional ‘Cardboard’ Cathedral opened to the public on August 6, 2013. Visitors are glowing in their praise of the building’s architecture acoustics and versatility. It is the first public building to be completed post earthquakes and will greatly benefit the city in its recovery. However, there is a considerable shortfall in funding to cover construction, and financial support is being invited. Insurance monies from the Cathedral in the Square are not able to be directed toward the Transitional ‘Cardboard’ Cathedral. Assistance from individuals and businesses is therefore essential. Significant contributions will be publically and permanently acknowledged on a plaque situated prominantly in the Cathedral foyer and through publicity and the media.
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    On February 22nd, 2011, Christchurch experienced a devastating earthquake. 185 people lost their lives. More than 80% of buildings in the central city were either destroyed or damaged beyond repair. The spire of Christchurch’s iconic ‘Cathedral in the Square’ collapsed. The remainder of the building was severely damaged. In May of 2011, plans began toward building a transitional cathedral. The ‘Cardboard’ Cathedral Project was born. The February 2011 Christchurch earthquake (magnitude 6.3)...

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