Back in February of 2011, Christchurch, New Zealand was hit by a massive earthquake.

Our own crewmember, Stacey, was living in Christchurch when it happened and wrote about her experiences coping with a newly shattered life in a newly shattered city.

One of the most tragic long-term losses for Christchurch was the partial destruction of its iconic Christchurch Cathedral, in many ways the centerpiece of the city. There are plans now to rebuild the cathedral in a much more modern fashion, although an appeal has been made to the Supreme Court to restore the cathedral exactly as it was.

Here is the cathedral before the earthquake.

20100130-07-Christchurch Cathedral Square panorama

And here it is after the February, 2011 quake.

Damage to Christ Church Cathedral in Christchurch CBD

Three options were presented for the rebuilding.

But in the interim, a Transitional Cathedral, also called the Cardboard Cathedral, has been built in Latimer Square, a couple blocks away.

It was designed by architect Shigeru Ban to be built primarily of paper tubes. Giant paper tubes. It will last at least 50 years and is earthquake, fire, and water proof. He has used this building style all over the world for disaster relief buildings and homes as a temporary but beautiful, functional, and sustainable solution to earthquake and tsunami destruction and displacement.

Front of the Cardboard Cathedral © Bridgit Anderson
Inside the Cardboard Cathedral © Bridgit Anderson

Here is Shigeru Ban’s fantastic TED Talk about his work and the advantages of building with paper.

Cover photo by Modern Affliction