Christchurch, the earthquake-ravaged New Zealand city, will finally have its cathedral rebuilt. But it's no ordinary nave and steeple construction. Christchurch will instead receive a cardboard cathedral that will last 20 years.
The remarkable temporary structure made of cardboard will replace the once magnificent building. Cardboard tubes will be complemented by timber beams, concrete and steel and concrete, in a high tech structure that will give Christchurch residents a place to worship once more.
The church, vicarage and hall of St John's parish was demolished after the February 22 earthquake which claimed the lives of 185 people.
Japanese architect Shigeru Ban designed the holy space, and has been working on the building free of charge since May 2011. He is famous for his sinous, latticed construction and emergency paper buildings.
Ban was responsible for Issey Miyake's fashion design studio, paper emergency accommodation for UNHCR camps and a paper arch at MOMA.
The architect also built a temporary paper church for the Japanese city of Kobe, after a massive earthquake devastated the city in 1995.
"It allows the city to see hope rise. It allows the cathedral community to take some time over what they want to do about the building in [Cathedral] Square," he said.
Ban said that cardboard was a natural choice, as it is easily available following a natural disaster.
"Even concrete buildings can be destroyed by earthquakes very easily. But paper buildings cannot be destroyed by earthquakes. It's also consistently low-cost. Normally after disasters the price of building materials goes higher, but since this is not a traditional building material, it's very easy to get," he says.
The cathedral will seat 700 people and will cost NZ$4 million. A completion date has not yet been announced.
Japanese architect Shigeru Ban answers journalists' questions during a visit prior the inaugural ceremony of the decentralized branch of France's top modern art museum in Metz eastern France, on 10 May 2010.
Architects Shigeru Ban of Japan, left and Jean de Gastines of France, right, pose near the construction site of the Center Pompidou-Metz on 31 August 2009 in Metz, eastern France.
Japanese architect Shigeru Ban walks on his paper bridge made of cardboard, 27 July 2007, near the Pont du Gard, in Vers-Pont-du-Gard, southern France.
A model of the modern art museum Pompidou-Metz, an annex of Paris' original Pompidou Centre designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban and French architect Jean Gastines.
Japanese architect Shigeru Ban poses, in his workshop at the Beaubourg Museum in Paris.
In this composite image, earthquake damage is seen at the Christchurch cathedral citizens war memorial. At top, seven months after the Christchurch earthquake, on 28 September 2011 and bottom, the same location as seen ahead of the earthquake anniversary on 21 February 2012.
Christchurch cathedral in ruins.
This aerial photograph shows the damaged Christchurch cathedral on 20 February 2012.