Rev Beck defends cardboard Christchurch cathedral

  • 01/08/2011

By Dan Satherley

A proposed temporary replacement for Christchurch's destroyed cathedral made of shipping containers and cardboard has been met with scepticism from residents of the quake-hit city.

Facebook fans of 3 News last night vented their frustration, criticising not only the $4 million price tag, but whether another church is really what the city needs right now.

"Once again Christianity seems to get in the way of common sense," wrote Christchurch resident Julian Tyerman. "It's a ludicrous waste of money, far better spent on the more Christian gesture of caring for the needy."

"Give the $4 million to us eastside chch people who can't even have a crap in our own toilet," wrote Carl Bellam. "That would be a more logical thing to think of than the cathedral."

But ChristChurch Cathedral's Rev Peter Beck says $4 million is not a lot to spend, and though it's nominally a replacement for the city's Anglican cathedral, much like its predecessor it won't just be used for religious purposes.

"There's a lot of money coming into Christchurch," says Rev Beck.

He says when a new permanent cathedral is completed, the temporary one will become available to others to use.

It is not yet known where the 700-seat cardboard structure will be erected, but it will be portable, so whoever takes it on after the church won't necessarily have to stay put.

It was designed by acclaimed Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, who specialises in creating structures out of paper and cardboard. In the aftermath of the 1995 Kobe earthquake he designed the Takatori Catholic Church, which was relocated to Taiwan in 2006, to replace a church destroyed in a 1999 quake.

Mr Ban did the work pro-bono.

It is not known at this stage what it will cost to build a new permanent place of worship.

Christchurch mayor Bob Parker was not available for comment, but told 3 News on Sunday, "It could be a multi-purpose space too, so that it might actually help us with orchestras, choirs, and other things."

The Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority said the decision was nothing to do with them.

3 News

source: newshub archive


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