Shigeru Ban’s Cardboard Cathedral recently broke ground in Christchurch, New Zealand! The lightweight cathedral will act as a temporary replacement for a 19th century church that was severely damaged in a 6.3 magnitude earthquake in February 2011. Like Ban’s other buildings, the 25-meter-tall structure will be secure, waterproof and fire resistant.
The structure – known as the Transitional Cathedral – will be the largest temporary building to date designed by Shigeru Ban. The Japanese architect is famous for his innovative use of cardboard as a building material and his improvised structures built in crisis situations such as natural disasters. The church will have an A-frame construction, which is said to be the most stable shape for building in areas with high seismic activity. The cardboard tubes will be stuffed with insulation and stabilized by 20-foot shipping containers and timber beams.
The 700-capacity temporary structure is being built on Latimer Square, close to the city’s ruined cathedral. Once the permanent cathedral is built, the cardboard structure will serve as a parish church for the city’s St John’s diocese. In addition to being used as a religious gathering space, it will also serve as an event and concert venue.The temporary cathedral is planned to be finished by April this year and it is expected to have a life-span of about twenty years.