Tuesday, March 10, 2015

cardboard cathedral


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 A-frame building immediately catches the eye.
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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18 comments

  1. Wow this is incredible! I love that he makes these structures out of things like cardboard. You say it's a temporary structure and that it's only designed to last for 50 years, but even that seems like a long time for cardboard!! So cool!

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    1. I know! 50 years does seem like a very long time! It's pretty cool though!

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  2. What an interesting idea! This cardboard church is stunning!

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    1. It really is. My favorite part was the "stained glass" on front.

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  3. Such a fitting memorial and how amazing that it will last for 50 years

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

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  4. This is so interesting, and so beautiful. I love what it symbolises and I think it's such a clever idea to have such a colourful building to do so. Thanks for sharing :)
    ~ Marcella

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    1. I know! I would really like to see some of his other work too. There is a structure where I live in Taiwan that he made after the bad 1999 quake here. It would be cool to visit it!

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  5. Such a beautiful cathedral, and an interesting bit of information. Looks really awesome; I bet it's even cooler in real life.

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  6. Thanks for sharing. I remember visiting Christchurch after the earthquakes. Cantabrians are such resilient people. Their spirit amazes me. Cheers - Ellen

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    1. I was seriously stunned by how much damaged still remained. I cannot even imagine what it looked like right after. I felt like Christchurch was a little bit of a ghost town. I know a lot of people left.

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  7. This cathedral looks so interesting! It looks to be completely made up of wooden flute things, which gives it a cool vibe! Thanks for sharing :)

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  8. This looks stunning! I especially like the "stained glass".

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  9. Thank you for sharing this so beautifully. I haven't made it back to Christchurch since the earthquake but it had such a profound effect on the country as a whole. The cardboard cathedral looks just gorgeous!

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    1. I was so hoping to do it justice! :)

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