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$5m cardboard cathedral 'structurally sound' - manufacturer

Published: 1:54PM Monday April 16, 2012 Source: ONE News

Construction will begin next week on a $5 million temporary cardboard cathedral which will replace the ChristChurch Cathedral.

The Anglican Church today revealed plans for the transitional cathedral which will be designed by top Japanese architect Shigeru Ban.

It will be built on St John's Latimer Square, which before the earthquake had been home to the city's earliest stone church.

Andrew Ward, from the cardboard manufacturer Sonoco, said: "The technology that's gone into this and with the architects the way they've designed the cathedral it will be structurally sound without a doubt."

Work will start on the building next week and it is anticipated that it will be completed by December.

The Anglican Church said the structure will serve as a place for community worship and gathering until a new permanent cathedral is built.

With seating for 700 people it will also provide a venue for concerts, exhibitions, civic and community events, something currently lacking post the February 22 earthquake last year.

Linked containers will sit alongside the cathedral and include a cafe and shop along with meeting rooms, amenities and offices.

The building, which will be constructed from cardboard tubes, timber beams, structural steel and a concrete pad, is intended to last over 20 years.

Transitional Cathedral Group spokesman Richard Gray said it should attract national and international interest.

"This is a very exciting next step for the project. The Transitional Cathedral is a symbol of hope for the future of this city as well as being sustainable and affordable," Gray said.

"It's sustainable, it's an affordable building and it's a good example of what can be done in post disaster environments."

A feasibility study was conducted with a $50,000 donation from the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust.

Gray said: "The bulk of the money is in hand but there will be further fundraising to meet the costs of building the temporary structure."

The building will face the CTV building site, where 115 people died fourteen months ago.

"It's sort of poignant looking around now at the CTV site opposite in particular. We've all suffered a great deal," Gray said.

Bishop Victoria Matthews said: "I am delighted we have reached this step and I acknowledge the wonderful collaboration between the congregations of the Cathedral and St John's that has made a Transitional Cathedral possible in the inner city."

It is the largest 'emergency structure' to be designed by Ban who had the support of associate architect Yoshie Narimatsu.

Despite last ditch efforts to stop it, the deconstruction of the badly damaged ChristChurch Cathedral officially got underway last month.

The full deconstruction is expected to take until the end of the year.

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