Work begins on $5.3m Cardboard Cathedral

An artist impression of the Cardboard Cathedral. Photo / Supplied
An artist impression of the Cardboard Cathedral. Photo / Supplied

Today marks a significant milestone for Christchurch as work begins on the skeleton of the city's Cardboard Cathedral.

The installation of the first cardboard cladding tubes, each weighing 120kg, is beginning this morning and will shape the $5.3 million A-frame building.

A total of 320 tubes will be used.

It is hoped that this stage of construction will only take about a month to complete, Naylor Love Project Manager Stephen Lynch told Newstalk ZB.

"Any high winds at all, any kind of winds at all (and) we'd have to stop lifting but it's programmed (for) four weeks to get all the cardboard tubes into place but it's very weather dependant," he said.

Designed by leading Japanese "emergency architect" Shigeru Ban, the 700-seat transitional cathedral is being constructed on Latimer Square.

It will stand in for the badly damaged ChristChurch Cathedral in Cathedral Square and is expected to be finished in April this year.

While described as "temporary", the cathedral is being constructed as a permanent structure with an expected life-span of more than 50 years.

Despite being in early stages of construction, the structure is already garnering global attention.

The cathedral came in at number nine on the Sydney Morning Herald's list of top 10 new world attractions for globetrotters this year.

The next two weeks will also see scientists surveying several hundred Cantabrians about their experiences in the February 2011 earthquake.

Teams of scientists will scour the quake-shattered eastern suburbs of Christchurch to gather vital information to improve earthquake hazard and risk assessments in New Zealand.

Scientists from the University of Canterbury, city council and GNS Science will carry out visual inspections of the outside of selected residential properties to generate estimates of shaking intensity from the deadly quake.

Where owners or occupiers are willing, they will also complete a two-page questionnaire about the earthquake and its shaking characteristics.

Project leader Mark Stirling, of GNS Science, said the information would help in the development of mathematical equations that will convert felt shaking intensity into a ground acceleration figure, which will be used by scientists and engineers for a range of hazard-related purposes.

"The information from this earthquake will contribute more to this study than any other New Zealand earthquake," Dr Stirling said.

Intensity is the human-felt scale of earthquake shaking, and a frequently-used measure is the 12-level Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale.

The equations developed from this project will be able to be used anywhere in New Zealand to make earthquake hazard maps, which can be used in land-use planning and engineering and infrastructure development.

The survey area will not include properties in areas that were most severely impacted by liquefaction, as the damage from shaking will not be easy to decipher in these areas.

The project is funded by the Earthquake Commission.


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