After nearly two years of planning and construction Christchurch’s Transitional Cathedral, designed by renowned Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, has opened its doors to the public. A Diocesan Dedication Service is being held today, 15 August.
The eye-catching building is made up of 98 cardboard tubes weighing up to 120 kilograms and measuring up to 20 metres in diameter. It can seat up to 700 people and has been built to last for up to 50 years.
Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism chief executive Tim Hunter says the cathedral has provoked strong international interest and he expects most visitors will be curious to see inside it.
“Even when it was still under construction staff at our i-SITE Visitor Centre and taxi drivers in the city were fielding lots of requests from visitors keen to see it so we’re expecting it to be a very popular attraction,” says Mr Hunter.
“It’s a fascinating building not only from an architectural and engineering point of view, but also because of the story it tells. It is a building which says much about Christchurch’s resilience and creativity.”
The Acting Dean of Christchurch, Revd. Lynda Patterson says the Transitional Cathedral stands as a symbol of hope after the Canterbury earthquakes, and a place of hospitality and welcome for the city and the wider community.
“We hope everyone will be inspired to visit Christchurch, and we look forward to welcoming people to the Cathedral as visitors or pilgrims,” she says.
Mr Hunter says while the cardboard cathedral has been primarily built as a place of worship, it can also be used as a venue for concerts and special events.
Two of New Zealand’s best-loved singer/song-writers, Don McGlashan and Dave Dobbyn, have already announced they will perform in the Cathedral on October 3.
The cathedral has also been booked for several conference dinners and cocktail functions.
“It is a venue unlike any other in the world so it’s going to very popular with event organisers looking for a place with a wow factor. We’re delighted it is being made available in this way and look forward to welcoming visitors from all around the world through its doors,” Mr Hunter says.