Christchurch is in the middle of a renaissance.
On February 22, 2011, an earthquake razed much of the historic city center and killed 185 people.
Four years later, much of the devastation remains.
Whole blocks of the city are cordoned off.
"Road Closed" signs are everywhere.
Rubble still litters sidewalks and streets.
Half collapsed buildings lean against container boxes, which have become buttresses and the only things holding them up.
The Christchurch Cathedral, much like the rest of the city, was heavily damaged in the earthquake and is still in complete ruins today.
To stand in its place, the temporary Cardboard Cathedral was built after the quake.
Shigeru Ban, a well known Japanese architect who has been dubbed a "disaster architect" due to his dedication to helping disaster victims, designed the intriguing building.
He is well known for using cheap and easily accessible materials such as paper and cardboard for creating structures for the victims of disaster, in particular earthquakes.
The cardboard cathedral is temporary and was only designed to last for 50 years.
While the restoration of the original Christchurch Cathedral sparks dissension, the cardboard cathedral was meant to be a rallying point.
It was evidence that rebuilding was happening, and not just commercial.
It was a literal and figurative step forward for the city that was literally brought to its knees.
And it's a beautiful sight to behold.
The bright colors of the "stained glass" windows and the symmetrical patterns of the design are infinitely pleasing to look at.
Small details steal your attention:
The small circular window that perfectly frames the cross on the wall.
Or the literal perfect lines and rows of chairs.
Christchurch is a city in transition.
It will take time to rebuild and move forward.
The cardboard cathedral is just one small piece of this story.
But it sure is a beautiful one.
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