New Zealand's cardboard cathedral

Getty Images: Illustration by Christchurch Cathedral
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Cardboard cathedral

After a devastating 2011 earthquake, churchgoers in Christchurch, New Zealand, have a new place to congregate, one made of cardboard. See gallery

Churchgoers in Christchurch, New Zealand, had to devise a new place to congregate and decided to build an unusual one — out of cardboard.


The $5.3 million Transitional Cathedral stands next to the 185 White Chairs art installation, which represents the number of people who died in an earthquake in February 2011 that demolished more than 220 heritage buildings, including a 132-year-old Gothic cathedral that was a city icon.


The new cathedral, designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, is expected to last 50 years and can accommodate 700 people.


Inside, the white walls contrast with a beige cardboard cross and a steeple of enormous cardboard tubes with timber cores. In Christchurch, a city without a town hall because of its extensive earthquake damage, the new cardboard cathedral is expected to draw many tourists.