Dome one idea for Christ Church cathedral
Early concept drawings have emerged showing the intact remains of the earthquake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral fused with a dome-shaped extension to form a new church.
The four sketches, by architects Warren and Mahoney, were obtained by The Press in affidavit evidence for a High Court challenge brought by the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT) against building owner the Church Property Trust (CPT).
Two of the more radical designs show a large dome or "sanctuary" forming part of a new northwest extension, and large semicircular eastern extension. The designs were presented at a cathedral project design control group meeting in March.
Costs estimated by quantity surveyor David Doherr, of Davis Langdon, were between $73.5 million and $84.3m, excluding GST.
Bishop Victoria Matthews today dismissed The Press' story about the dome-shaped extension idea as ''silliness''.
In a letter to the diocese, said she said The Press had given significant coverage to one idea not been considered by the cathedral project group.
''So once again, read for entertainment, not knowledge please,'' Matthews said.
''I am sorry we are again into this silliness, but I again call the Diocese to prayer and study, and know that together the Holy Spirit will show us the way forward.''
Anglican diocese spokeswoman Fiona Summerfield said yesterday the drawings were commissioned for rebuild cost estimates only and never intended to part of final designs.
Feedback had been sought on a 62-page document that included research from a fact-finding tour of cathedrals and churches in the United States and Europe in June, and a concept design was expected to be delivered in December.
"Definitely no final designs have been worked out at all. It's still very much going through that process," Summerfield said.
Mayor Bob Parker did not like the dome concept, but said the blend of past and present was "heading in the right direction".
"I like the concept of combining elements of the old with something new and inspirational, and something that will become the new symbol for our city . . . That's why I have not been a supporter of rebuilding the cathedral as it was," he said.
Heritage advocate and art history associate professor Ian Lochhead, a supporter of the GCBT court action, said integrated heritage building designs were often unsuccessful.
"The kind of relationship between new and old that you get with something like [England's] Coventry Cathedral, which is the example that keeps coming to everyone's mind, is a very different kind of architectural ensemble from what you might get in Christchurch," he said.
"I certainly think the situation with the cathedral here is one where a restoration is a very realistic option, and when that's a realistic option there's no basis for going in that other direction."
GCBT co-chairman Jim Anderton said yesterday he could not comment during the court hearing. In his affidavit he said two of the sketches were a "dramatic change from anything that represents the current cathedral". One had "some resemblance" to the existing building.
The costs of the four proposals were "not insignificant" and compared favourably to full cathedral restoration, Anderton said.
ANGLICAN TRUST 'WITHIN ITS RIGHTS'
The owners of Christ Church Cathedral were within their powers to order the quake-damaged building's demolition, a court has heard.
The Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT) is contesting in the High Court the right of the cathedral's owner, the Church Property Trust (CPT), to demolish the building, claiming the move breaches a 2003 act of Parliament protecting church buildings. The GCBT claims the building can be saved and is seeking a declaratory judgment that the CPT has a moral and legal responsibility to do so under the act.
The CPT, citing safety con cerns, wants to partially demolish the building to sill height and build a new cathedral with old and new materials.
Counsel for the CPT, Jared Ormsby, said two paragraphs in the 2003 act showed the trust was entitled to opt for demolition. One stated the trust had the powers to "build on or develop any property whatsoever".
"When we go to develop on an ordinary site, we're not just talking about renovating," Ormsby said. "We could be talking about a new building. In this case, we're talking about a mix of old and new."
He pointed out the phrase "any property whatsoever". "That power . . . does not have a restriction placed on it."
A later paragraph gave the CPT the right to act in a way that "will be for the benefit of any trust administered by it".
"Those two paragraphs provide ample room for the trustees to undertake the course of action which they have decided," Ormsby said.
Building trust counsel Francis Cooke said the CPT's argument in court departed
from its written one by now contending that "the trust was a trust to build cathedrals from time to time at the site of Cathedral Square". The trustees were obliged to act in the interests of "the" cathedral, not "a" cathedral, Cooke said.
"There is no evidence at all that the CPT understood that this was their duty as trustees - that is a trust for 'a' cathedral at the site. Many within the church would like a new cathedral, but you can't, without the evidence, just assume that that is the decision trustees would make. It would be appropriate for the court to identify that error and require the trustees to consider their obligations and make decisions in accordance with the law."
Justice Lester Chisholm gave no time frame for a decision but said it would be "weeks rather than days".
- © Fairfax NZ News
Places to peer at you from (pictures)
TGIF: Nuclear Submarine edition
Can Dynamo save magic on TV?
Captain Sensible got too near the flame
Win 7 Days tix, insulation, Woolly Pockets!
Butter me up
The man who brought us the call of the wild
Scary games scare the crap out of me
The Great Outdoors
What's the best gig merch you've seen?
The paradox of reading choice
Wedding woe: Too many BMs