Site blessed for cardboard cathedral

FRANCESCA LEE
Last updated 05:00 23/04/2012
Bishop Victoria Matthews blesses the site where the temporary Christ Church Cathedral will sit on the corner of Hereford and Madras streets overlooking Latimer Square.
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ
DISAPPOINTED: Bishop Victoria Matthews has called for action for quake-hit homeowners.

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The first sod for Christchurch's new cardboard cathedral has been turned, with its Japanese architect flying in especially for the ceremony.

The service was held at the site on the corner of Hereford and Madras streets yesterday.

Bishop Victoria Matthews conducted the service and architect Shigeru Ban, who designed the $5.5 million structure, turned the first sod.

Ban is collaborating with Christchurch architect Peter Marshall, of Warren and Mahoney, to build the temporary cathedral, which will replace the earthquake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral, currently being deconstructed.

The bishop blessed the site with holy water.

"It's a time of celebration and joy and we are full of hope," she said.

Ban flew in to attend the ceremony. He held a presentation on the cardboard cathedral's design at the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology yesterday evening.

The building is designed to hold 700 people and is scheduled to be completed by Christmas.

It has drawn criticism.

The Christchurch Wizard called the design "kitsch" and a request from Anglican leaders to the Christchurch City Council for $240,000 a year to help pay running costs drew widespread opposition from Press readers.

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- The Press

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