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Quake-hit Christchurch to build cardboard cathedral
by Staff Writers
Wellington (AFP) April 16, 2012

A temporary cathedral made from cardboard will be built in Christchurch to replace the historic Anglican building destroyed in last year's earthquakes, Church officials said Monday.

The spire of the original cathedral, a symbol of the New Zealand city, collapsed in the February 2011 quake that killed 185 people and the structure was condemned after sustaining more damage during tremors in June and December.

The Church unveiled plans Monday to erect a temporary cathedral designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban by the end of the year, describing it as a "symbol of hope" for the shattered city, which is still struggling to rebuild.

Costing NZ$4.5 million ($3.7 million) and capable of seating 700 people, the cathedral will be made from cardboard tubes, timber beams and structural steel on a concrete pad.

"It will give a location for people to come and reflect on what we've been through and, hopefully, gather inspiration for the future," project organiser Richard Gray said.

Ban has previously built cardboard and paper structures following earthquakes in Japan's Kobe, L'Aquila in Italy, and Haiti, although the A-frame cathedral is his largest so far.

"The strength of the building has nothing to do with the strength of the material," he said.

"Even concrete buildings can be destroyed by earthquakes very easily. But paper buildings cannot be destroyed by earthquakes. It's also consistently low-cost."

Work on the temporary cathedral is due to begin next week.

Plans have not been finalised for a permanent replacement for the 131-year-old cathedral, which the Anglican Church says would have cost up to NZ$100 million to rebuild.

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