The old cathedral of the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch suffered severe damage in the earthquakes of 2011. Originally it was planned to demolish the ruin of the old cathedral. It was not until 2017 that it was decided to reinstate the building. (You can see part of the ruins of the old cathedral in my panorama for the WWP-event Confusion).
But there was no functional building for the congregation of the cathedral. So it was decided to build a provisional cathedral – a pro-cathedral.
The pro-cathedral was designed by the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban.
The building is A-frame in style, 21m in height – the northern base of the A (entrance side) is wider than the southern base of the A (altar side). So the roof is getting steeper from North to South. (The cathedral is not built in the traditional West-East alignment – entrance to altar.) Eight shipping containers make up the side-walls. On top of these containers 96 cardboard tubes – 60 cm in diameter – form the roof that is covered by polycarbonate. There is no rose window – the northern façade is made from triangular pieces of stained glass.
Once the old cathedral is rebuilt, the pro-cathedral will become the regular parish church for St. John parish.
To me it is really so impressing to see the firm determination of the people of Christchurch to rebuild their town, to move on, not to give in. And I do hope that rich blessing will be on that long and industrious way. One symbol of not giving in, one symbol of revival is this Cardboard Cathedral.