The Cardboard Cathedral

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In February 2011, a massive earthquake shook New Zealand’s South Island, with the epicentre just six miles away from the nation’s second-largest city, Christchurch. As a result of the quake, 185 people lost their lives and Christchurch Cathedral, located in the city’s central square, suffered serious damage, with the spire and half the tower destroyed.

Further shocks in June and December 2011 left the building in a seriously dangerous condition, and the decision was eventually made to demolish it completely. Work began in March 2012, but was suspended in December pending a judicial review.

Meanwhile, a temporary replacement is being constructed under the guidance of Japanese architect Shigeru Ban. Remarkably, this structure will be made predominantly out of…cardboard!


Putting your faith in cardboard postal tubes!

Over 90 cardboard tubes, each 20 metres long and 600mm in diameter, have been assembled on an A-frame of timber beams and structural steel. To stop them getting wet – an obvious and understandable concern in a cardboard building – the tubes are protected by a polycarbonate roof above and a solid concrete floor below.

And if you’re thinking that cardboard sounds like a lightweight material unlikely to be strong enough to withstand the rigours of an earthquake-riven city like Christchurch, think again. Shigeru Ban, an expert in ‘emergency architecture’, has designed the structure to last 50 years and has ensured that it will comply 100% with the code governing building in earthquake zones.

There are other benefits as well, many of which will be familiar to those of you accustomed to buying your cardboard packaging from Davpack. It’s easily available, fully recyclable and comes with a low carbon footprint.

It’s also reusable –Shigeru Ban built a cardboard Catholic Church in Kobe, Japan, after an earthquake there in 1995. It stood for ten years before being dismantled, packed up and transported to Taiwan to fulfil the same function when a church there suffered a similar fate.

And it’s incredibly inexpensive – the final bill is expected to come to less than US$5 million. For a 23-metre high cathedral (that’s about the height of a six-storey building) capable of holding 700 people, we reckon that’s pretty good value!


Davpack – building supplies specialist?

If you should be thinking of knocking up your own full-sized cardboard cathedral over the weekend, I should probably point out here that we don’t stock 20-metre long tubes, so we’d be unable to deliver them with our customary speed.

Our heavy duty postal tubes are, however, immediately available in lengths of up to 1067mm, so you could always build a scale model if you were of a mind. Call our Customer team now on 01332 821200 to find out more!

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Dave Smith

With a background that has included spells in marketing and editorial management in the publishing and performing arts industries, Dave is now a valued member of Davpack’s marketing team, where he is our lead blogger and senior copywriter. Still relatively new to the business, he will be aiming to look at the world of cardboard boxes and packaging materials from a slightly different angle to the usual. Davpack

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