About that cardboard Cathedral

This week the cardboard cathedral finally opened in Christchurch. The cathedral cost NZ $5.6m which is a lot for cardboard but astoundingly it is designed to last up to 50 years.

Whatever your thoughts on such buildings the actual architecture and design is worth exploring. I can think of many other buildings that are built in more permanent materials that look very shabby after even 20 years so it will be very interesting to see how this building goes. More about the building materials here

“Japanese architect Shigeru Ban designed the cardboard cathedral. The triangular A-frame design includes stained glass windows, can seat 700 people and is built to last for half a century.

The building is meant to be waterproof, although last month some of the cardboard tubing became soggy and had to be replaced after a heavy downpour.”

Here is a TEDx Talk by the architect Shigeru Ban on his approach to architecture and some more of the backstory. As he said at the TEDx Tokyo event

“I was disappointed in my profession,” says architect Shigeru Ban in today’s talk, which he gave at TEDxTokyo in May. As far as he’s concerned, architecture has lost its way. Shigeru Ban: Emergency shelters made from paperShigeru Ban: Emergency shelters made from paper“We are working for privileged people, for rich people, for government and developers. They have money and power, and those are invisible, so they hire us to visualize their power and money by making monuments of architecture.” Ban, instead, has committed himself to creating buildings that can truly be useful — whether or not they’re permanent fixtures on a horizon.

Ban first began experimenting with constructing buildings from paper tubes in 1986, and he’s continued to test new ideas of form and material ever since. For Ban, good architecture must answer questions of utility and sustainability even as it delights with aesthetics. Somewhat surprisingly, given the apparently transient nature of so many of his chosen materials, his buildings have proven long-lasting.”

“His remarkable structures are often intended as temporary housing, designed to help the dispossessed in disaster-struck nations such as Haiti, Rwanda or Japan. Yet equally often the buildings remain a beloved part of the landscape long after they have served their intended purpose. (Filmed at TEDxTokyo.)

Most people look at cardboard tubes and see something fit for the recycling bin. But architect Shigeru Ban turns them into beautiful buildings”

For a rather longer background talk by Shigeru Ban filmed in Christchurch in 2012 try this clip.

The architecture for the Galaxy Soho building in China is unrelated to Shigeru’s work but I came across this clip from photographer Daniel Chung. The architect Zaha Hadid is making waves in the UK as one of the top architects of our time.

Zaha received the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004 and other awards since then. Galaxy Soho is amazingly beautiful.

Galaxy SOHO video by Daniel Chung from Zaha Hadid Architects on Vimeo.