Transitional Cathedral

Transitional Cathedral
Transitional Cathedral

The colloquially known 'Cardboard' Cathedral was the first civic building to be completed as part of Christchurch’s post-quake reconstruction.

The colloquially known 'Cardboard' Cathedral was the first civic building to be completed as part of Christchurch’s post-quake reconstruction.

Following Warren and Mahoney's appointment as Anglican Diocese Architect, the practice was invited to meet the internationally recognised architect Shigeru Ban, who over his career has been involved with many disaster recovery projects world-wide. Shigeru, ably assisted by his assistant Yoshie Narimatsu, had presented a concept to Church Property Trustees for a “cardboard cathedral” that could provide temporary accommodation for this important city icon in an innovative manner.

The concept was for a series of structural tubes in the form of a tent, with dimensions derived from the existing Cathedral, clad in polycarbonate and with a feature stained glass window at one end. The simplicity and potential speed of construction made for an exciting offering to CPT and the city, and Warren and Mahoney joined Shigeru Ban in determining a site for the building - ultimately deciding on church-owned land at St John’s Latimer Square.

Working in association with Shigeru Ban, and in tandem with Holmes Consulting Group and Beca, documentation was prepared for consent and construction. The uniqueness of the building and environment presented a complex process of evaluation of materials, testing, peer reviews and costings. The most significant change was the move from an external structural truss for the tube to a LVL beam within the tube, primarily due to significant wind loads. The second element of interest lay in the testing of the polycarbonate cladding. Due to the trapezoidal floor plan and raking ridge, the entire cladding is on a twist from one end of the building to another, posing interesting weather tightness and construction issues.

The colloquially known 'Cardboard' Cathedral was the first civic building to be completed as part of Christchurch’s post-quake reconstruction.

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