The laying of concrete foundations for Christchurch's temporary "cardboard cathedral" has started this morning.

Concrete trucks have been on the Transitional Christ Church Cathedral site pouring since 4am, and are expected to be there for seven hours.

Designed by leading Japanese "emergency architect" Shigeru Ban, the $5.3 million transitional cathedral is being constructed on the edge of the city's red zone cordon in Latimer Square. It will stand in for the badly damaged Christ Church Cathedral.

A shipment of 320 cardboard tubes that will shape the A-frame building, with a 700-seat capacity, arrived last week.


The transitional cathedral is scheduled to be completed by the end of February.

The Anglican Diocese of Christchurch said it would be used while Christ Church Cathedral was being rebuilt and would then be the place of worship for St John's Parish.