Christchurch // Cardboard Cathedral

cardboard cathedral exterior
cardboard cathedral front
cardboard cathedral front

the Cardboard Cathedral in Christchurch is probably the most unique church in New Zealand.

it is meant to be a temporary structure, taking the place of the cathedral in the square that was demolished by the 2011 earthquake. but the cathedral has drawn a lot of attention since its opening in 2013. the award-winning architect who designed the cathedreal is known for his work in distaster recovery and eco-friendly materials. I mean, Kate and William the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge even visited during their royal tour of New Zealand last year.

cardboard cathedral stained glass
cardboard cathedral altar and cross
cardboard cathedral chairs
cardboard cathedral chairs detail
cardboard cathedral support columns
cardboard cathedral interior

maybe it's because I have a package engineering degree, but I was a sucker for this place.

the name "Cardboard Cathedral" is a little misleading. yes, large portions of the building are constructed from cardboard tubes: the support beams, even the cross above the altar. but the chairs are wood, the floor is concrete, and the roof and "stained glass" windows are some kind of plastic sheeting.

the entire structure is made from recycled and sustainable materials. "Cardboard Cathedral" is just a catchier name than "Eco-friendly and Sustainable Cathedral."

cardboard cathedral cross

this is definitely not a traditional church, but I still thought it was beautiful. it felt pretty symbolic of the attitude we encountered - everywhere we went there was art, hope, and evidence of human resiliency. the earthquake has damaged or destroyed a lot of the structures in Christchurch, but the city is rebuilding into something new.

you can find more information or make a donation on the Cathedral website.

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