Christchurch’s cardboard cathedral is built to last a century

Updated Aug 23, 2013
Credit: Bridgit Anderson/AFPCredit: Bridgit Anderson/AFP

On February 22, 2011, a devastating earthquake hit Christchurch, New Zealand that left 185 people dead and many buildings badly damaged—including the city’s gorgeous cathedral.

The structure, built in 1864, was damaged so badly that it will need to be replaced. In the meantime, the city has a beautiful and extremely innovative stopgap in which to hold worship services.

Church officials commissioned Japanese architect Shigeru Ban to design a cathedral made of cardboard which was recently completed, according to the BBC. The cathedral features an A-frame design and is made from nearly 100 24-inch cardboard tubes coated with polyurethane to make it waterproof, according to a report from NBC News.

The cathedral seats 700 people and features a beautiful wall of stained glass windows etched with images from the original cathedral’s facade. The cardboard structure is built to last 100 years, though the church hopes to have a permanent structure in place long before that.

A dedication service for the cathedral was held last week.