Cardboard cathedral for Christchurch

The Anglican diocese of Christchurch announced plans yesterday to build a temporary replacement structure for the ruined iconic cathedral. The cathedral, destroyed as a result of recent earthquakes will be replaced by a $5 million dollar (New Zealand) cardboard structure expected to last for twenty years. The new structure will seat 700 and is designed to be multi-use.

""It will give a location for people to come and reflect in what we've been through and, hopefully, gather inspiration for the future.''

As the Christchurch Wizard lurked on the periphery of the press conference as a symbol of his opposition to the original cathedral's demolition, Bishop Victoria Matthews welcomed the church's new home.

She hoped a "pilgrimage route'' would be established between the new site and the old one in Cathedral Square.

"As the cathedral (cordon) walls are lowered, and it becomes a prayer space, a place of beauty and reflection, people can quite easily walk from there to the transitional cathedral. Because that sense of pilgrimage is what we are all involved in here in Christchurch and Canterbury - understanding that there has been loss but that a great new thing is happening and we're invited to be part of that.''

Mr Gray described the move as a "symbol of hope for the future" of the quake-weary city, while being sustainable and affordable."

More here along with an artist's rendering of the proposed cathedral's interior.

Comments (6)

"The Christchurch Wizard"? Um, is that an elected position?

Well, with a little poking around, I found out who the Christchurch Wizard is.
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/christchurch20wizard/search/results.cfm?kw1=Christchurch%20Wizard&kw2=&st=gsa
Move along, folks, nothing to see here.

As a priest, resident in Christchurch, I can assure you that 'The Christchurch Wizard' is a self-appointed functionary who would like to be able to cast a 'spell' on the Bishop and the Diocese of Christchurch.

He opposes the managed deconstruction of the Cathedral - because he has lost his primary stamping ground for demagoguery in the heart of our city.

He usually wears a black cassock and a pointy hat - but is not a bishop. He is just a figure of fun here.

Ron Smith (added by ~ed.)

Tremendously cool and daring. Given our rapidly changing dynamics and demographics now and in coming years, I wonder if more such semi-temporary structures would meet even our needs better? Perhaps a new return to the tabernacle days of the Hebrew bible? Just a (wild) thought.

Well, hmmm. It looks interesting. It looks bright. It looks nondescript - but, none of those things are compelling one way or the other. If it allows the congregation of the Cathedral and the folks of Christchurch to gather for all those things that a Cathedral can be (including, I suppose, performance space for wizards), well and good.

My only reflection is to remember that while in seminary I assisted in a small church that had been built as "temporary," and then used for almost 50 years. I do hope that the Bishop and the Diocese will establish a long term plan, either by actually building this to last or by articulating a plan beyond this building. It will be interesting to see, one way or the other.

Marshall Scott

Thanks for the information about the Wizard.

The artist's depiction of the interior reminds me of the chapel at the US Air Force Academy, although on a smaller scale. I admit that when I first heard of the proposal I had visions of the whole thing collapsing in a heap following the first big rainstorm, but am relieved to read that "cardboard" does not necessarily mean either "absorbent" or "flammable."

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