Creating a cardboard cathedral

A-frame structure to stand in for earthquake-ravaged landmark

Cardboard may play a key role in resurrecting a New Zealand landmark that was leveled in a natural disaster earlier this year.

In the aftermath of a 6.3-magnitude earthquake in February that rattled Christchurch, New Zealand, officials for the quake-ravaged ChristChurch Cathedral — which had served as the city’s centerpiece since 1864 — have been working with Japanese architect Shigeru Ban to build a 700-person-capacity cardboard cathedral as a temporary replacement.

The project is now in the conceptual stage, and a $50,000 feasibility study is under way, according to ChristChurch Cathedral’s website. There is an ambitious goal to open the cardboard cathedral on Feb. 22, 2012 — the one-year anniversary of the destructive earthquake, which killed 135.

The cathedral’s design is based around 64 to 86 cardboard tubes, each weighing more than 1,100 pounds and measuring about 32.7 inches in diameter and from 55.8 to 72.2 feet in length.

The plan calls for the tubes to be placed on a foundation comprised of 20-foot-long shipping containers, forming a triangular shape.