Christchurch to build temporary cardboard Cathedral

The people of Christchurch in New Zealand are still suffering from an ongoing series of earthquakes that began with the devastating earthquake in February. The historic Anglican Cathedral in that city was heavily damaged in the quakes and has since been closed and condemned.

But there’s news now that solutions are being sought:

The extent of the damage makes the building unpredictable and therefore unsafe.

Reverend Peter Beck, dean of the cathedral, said today’s decision gives the church time to “explore further options”.

He said: “It helps us work together to build the most amazing, wonderful building which will respect our heritage and build for the future.”

Mr Beck also confirmed the church is looking at building a transitional “cardboard cathedral”.

He added: “It’s our prime option at the moment.”

The cathedral will be deconsecrated at a service on November 9, which will return the building to secular use.

The decision is also discussed here:

“[T]he Diocese of Christchurch issued a statement saying it is considering all options for all of its churches, buildings and other facilities following the recent quakes.

“This is a challenging and complex process and extensive consultation is required with a range of stakeholders along with the need to commission expert analysis and technical reports,” said Bishop Victoria Matthew.

“With all sites, including the Christchurch Cathedral in the central city, safety is the first priority.

“A final decision won’t be made until all of the information and reports are received by the various church entities and the options and ramifications considered.

“With regards to the interim ministry of the Cathedral, again all the options, including the feasibility of the cardboard Cathedral concept, are being fully investigated and considered.”

More here.

The upshot is that this will gain the community time to take stock. Bishop Victoria Matthews is clear that there is no desire to rebuild a carbon-copy of the damaged building once the time is right. The new Cathedral will be a new building for a new time.

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