Sun, Dec 30, 2012 - Page 5 News List

FEATURE: Christchurch puts faith in cardboard cathedral

AFP, CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand

Christchurch’s new cathedral, due to be completed in April next year — 132 years after the consecration of the original stone version — is the largest cardboard structure Ban has designed.

The church, insurance and public donations are paying for the NZ$5 million ($4.2 million) project for which local builders have offered discount prices.

It has a concrete base, with the cardboard tubes forming two sides of the A-frame and containers helping brace the walls.

One end of the cathedral will be filled with stained glass and a polycarbon roof will help protect it from the elements, giving a lifespan estimated at 50 years.

Church authorities envisage it being used as a cathedral for only 10 years, until a permanent replacement is built, although Ban said the enthusiastic response in New Zealand to his innovative plans could change that.

“If people love it, it will be permanent, I hope that’s going to happen,” he said.

Building authorities in Christchurch pored over the plans and declared they fully meet earthquake standards, while even locals initially skeptical about the cardboard concept have been won over.

“I thought it was a bit of a strange idea, but now I think it’s really cool,” Christchurch resident Hunter McKenzie said. “It’s actually good just to get the cathedral up and running and try to get the city back to normal.”

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