This past weekend while reading the Wall Street Journal Magazine (Nov 2013) I noticed a short article on the demise of Gilbert Scott's neo-gothic Cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand which had been decimated by many recent earthquakes.  The replacement (which the article failed to mention was temporary) was designed by architect Shigeru Ban completely out of cardboard! Ban, who has donated his services on similar churches throughout areas of the Eastern Hemisphere which faced similar acts of God, expects the cardboard cathedral to last 50 years if needed.
Above you can see Scott's stone ChristChurch Cathedral from 1904 before the damage and below the devastation numerous earthquakes in recent years had wrought.  The decision phase has been hard on the church as they decide whether or not to rebuild or if the damaged building was salvageable; turns out that sadly the existing church could not be saved. The city and preservationists were also involved as the Cathedral is a local landmark and a category #1 historic place ranking within New Zealand.
When I first read the article I was outraged at the current state of the architectural profession that a 50 year life expectancy was deemed an adequate replacement for such a structure - or in fact any structure. We talk so much about being 'green' but replacing buildings every 20-50 years is the anti-thesis to green. Buildings in Europe are in use that are a thousand years old which is a whole lot more 'green' than a lot of current building practices.....but that's a topic for another blog post. I was wrong in fact and the cardboard Cathedral is a temporary structure; crisis adverted.
Can you imagine such a tragedy to your own church or landmark? So sad.
Ban's design was a simple A-frame structure of huge cardboard tubes covered with a clear polycarbonate roof to keep off the weather. The ends are then infilled with stained glass with super-imposed photo images from the old Cathedral (see last few images). 
Above you can see the structure getting erected a few blocks away from the old Cathedral while it continues to be demolished and the site prepared for rebuilding.
The finished project is a beautiful example of modern ecclesiastic architecture in my opinion, and you know I'm primarily a classicist!
The finished space holds 700 parishioners.  I love that it includes something of the old Cathedral (the stained glass images) while leading the way for the congregation to the future and their rebuilding; hopefully a structurally sound replica of the old Cathedral.
What do you think of the temporary replacement and cardboard buildings in general? Could you worship here?
Images sourced from various news sources and not my own.