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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Christchurch Cardboard Cathedral

By Team IAnD
Photography: Courtesy Shigeru Ban Architects

Christchurch Cardboard Cathedral by Shigeru Ban Architects
Image  courtesy: The Press

Japanese architect Shigeru Ban’s largest temporary building, the Cardboard Cathedral at Christchurch, New Zealand, will hold its first prayer service on August 11, followed by a dedication service on August 15, 2013.

Paper is known to be a very versatile material and continues to surprise with its contribution to ingenuity. Ar. Shigeru Ban is best known among a host of other creatively inclined individuals, who has proved how strongly his cardboard structures can hold against natural calamities. His contribution to disaster relief using materials with ‘minimum wastage’ is tremendous and laudable.

Christchurch Cardboard Cathedral by Shigeru Ban Architects
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Christchurch Cardboard Cathedral by Shigeru Ban Architects
Image  courtesy: Snowgrass

The ‘Transitional Cathedral’ is made of locally produced cardboard tubes of equal lengths.  Over 90 enormous 600mm diameter, 20 metre tubes form a triangular shape; and are protected by a polycarbonate roof above, and very solid concrete floor below. Sturdy LVL (laminated veneer lumber) inserted beams, lend further substantial support to these tubes. Since geometry is decided by plan and elevations of the original cathedral, there is a gradual change in each angle of paper tubes.

Christchurch Cardboard Cathedral by Shigeru Ban Architects
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Christchurch Cardboard Cathedral by Shigeru Ban Architects
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Cardboard is an ideal building material because it’s readily available, recyclable and surprisingly strong. “The strength of the building has nothing to do with the strength of the material,” says Shigeru Ban. “Even concrete buildings can be destroyed by earthquakes very easily. But paper buildings cannot be destroyed by earthquakes.” It’s also consistently low-cost. When the 'Cardboard Cathedral' project was announced, many were concerned that the structure would 'go soggy in the rain' Quite the contrary. It is one of the safest buildings in the city. It is being built to last 50 plus years and to 100% of the earthquake code.  

Christchurch Cardboard Cathedral by Shigeru Ban Architects
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Christchurch Cardboard Cathedral by Shigeru Ban Architects
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The Cardboard Cathedral is the first substantial “re-build” in the wake of the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake (magnitude 6.3) that inflicted crippling damage on the city; and a powerful symbol of hope for a rebuilt, renewed Christchurch.  The north-facing Trinity Window, above the entrance, is made of coloured glass featuring images from the original Christ Church Cathedral's rose window, which collapsed in the June 2011 earthquakes.

Christchurch Cardboard Cathedral by Shigeru Ban Architects
Photography: Bridgit Anderson; courtesy: architecture now

On a more emotional note, a fitting cardboard key marked the handover of the new Cathedral to the Anglican diocese.  It opened its doors to the public at 9am on Aug.6th to one solitary admirer. This weekend, it will finally open for worship, allowing as many as 700 Anglicans to praise the lord inside its stained glass-marbled interior.

The Christchurch Cathedral is symbolic of Shigeru’s style with its minimalistic yet attractive design.  


4 comments :

  1. Ashok Goel Director at GLOBAL ACADEMY OF VAASTU AND DESIGNNovember 11, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    The strength of the building is the strength of its design

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sandeep Chadha evolve TOGETHERNovember 11, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    The strength of the building has little to do with the design. In this case cardboard has replaced some conventional materials. Anyways it still remains a wonderful experiment. Congratulations !

    ReplyDelete
  3. Only an ARCHITECT can understand the strength of design!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello,
    The cardboard-based design for the Anglican Church was displayed in Christchurch by the architect himself, who has generously decided to build the structure without charging any money.
    andersroberts.com

    ReplyDelete