Christchurch Cardboard Cathedral
Photo: Bridgit Anderson


Angela van der Burght

Designed by Shigeru Ban
Christchurch | New Zealand

Posted 13 November 2013

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"One of Christchurch's exciting new buildings is the Transitional 'Cardboard' Cathedral designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban and constructed on the site of the former St John's Latimer Square Anglican Church.
It's a fascinating building not only from an architectural and engineering point of view, but also because of the story it tells. It is a building which says much about Christchurch's resilience and creativity."
Tim Hunter, Chief Executive, Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism

Cardboard Cathedral design
The Cardboard Cathedral opened to the public on 6 August 2013 with a Diocesan Dedication Service on 15 August. It has seating for 700 and the Cathedral also provides a venue for concerts, exhibitions, and civic and community events.

The Cathedral makes use of varied construction materials from cardboard tubes to timber beams, structural steel and concrete. It is the largest 'emergency structure' to be designed by Shigeru Ban who, with the support of associate architect Yoshie Narimatsu, contributed his time free of charge and gifted the building's design to the Cathedral, Diocese and Christchurch.
Many of the building materials are being sourced locally and nationally including the 98 16.5 - 20 metre, 120-kilogram tubes. Each tube is coated in polyurethane and laminated timber has been inserted for strength.

The Cardboard Cathedral's triangular window design includes 49, 1.2 metre tall panels and incorporates images from ChristChurch Cathedral's original rode window.
Each image comes from the same position as on the rose window. The triangular panels in the middle of the new stained-glass window use images from the centre circle of the rose window, while the remaining panels use images from the outside circle. The images, taken from a high-resolution photograph of the original window, are printed onto the glass panels, which are then fired in a kiln. Christ Church Cathedral development manager Craig Dixon said the new window design was a metaphor.
"It is fascinating that the design is a fractured image that has some powerful things to say about the state of the cathedral and the city at the moment," he said. "These broken, fractured images come together in a new and visually beautiful way that shows the way ahead. We have the old and the new together."

ChristChurch Cathedral development manager Craig Dixon said, "it is fascinating that the design is a fractured image that has some powerful things to say about the state of the cathedral and the city at the moment."

Shigeru Ban

Cardboard pilers ChristChurch Cathedral
Photo: ©Bridgit Anderson

Printed pictures on glass from the original cathedral's rose window
Photo: ©Bridgit Anderson

ChristCurch Cathedral inside
Photo: ©Bridgit Anderson

ChristChurch Cathdral construction
Photo: ©Bridgit Anderson

ChristChurch Cathedral by night
Photo: ©Eugene Coleman

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