New Zealand's historic 131-year-old Christchurch Cathedral, which was heavily damaged in Feb. 2011's 6.3-magnitude earthquake, will be commemorated by a Transitional cardboard church before construction on a new cathedral begins.
The decision to demolish what was left of the Anglican church, a hallmark of the country's second largest city, was taken back in February amid some controversy.
"It is not an easy decision for many of us to accept," said Christchurch's mayor Bob Parker, though some, like city Councilor Aaron Keown, threatened to chain himself to the cathedral to prevent it from being taken down.
Plans are already underway to build a new cathedral in the old one's place, but first a Transitional cathedral made out of cardboard will be erected at the site of another nearby church, St. John's at Latimer Square, which was also demolished as a result of the damage sustained by last year's disaster, which killed 185 people and leveled 6,000 homes.
The idea of a cardboard cathedral, which was designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, is inspired by a recently opened temporary sports stadium mounted on steel tubes and a temporary shopping mall built out of shipping containers, which are part of efforts of starting the rebuilding process in Christchurch. According to a press release, the cardboard church will be assembled using paper and cardboard tubes on an A-frame of timber beams and structural steel.
The memorial building is expected to cost $5.3 million and hopes are it will be completed by the end of the year – and last a good two-to-three decades. It is expected to hold up to 700 people.
"It's a very economic building, allowing the life of the cathedral to continue," said church spokesman Craig Dixon, according to the Guardian.
"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 added.
"The bulk of the money is in hand but there will be further fundraising to meet the costs of building the temporary structure," shared Richard Gray from the Transitional Cathedral Group.
The project is expected to begin construction within the next two months.