Rain leaves cathedral tubes soggy

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 19/07/2013
Cardboard cathedral
IAIN McGREGOR/ Fairfax NZ
DAMP: A worker surveys water damage to the cardboard cathedral columns after recent rainstorms. Chunks of warped cardboard columns had to be cut away for replacement.

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The cardboard cathedral has gone wrinkly in the rain.

A number of cardboard columns that give the transitional cathedral its name have wrinkled and discoloured after recent rain.

Workers on the site yesterday could be seen cutting away warped sections of the cardboard.

The damage has no bearing on the structural integrity of the $5.3 million transitional cathedral on Latimer Square, the opening of which has been repeatedly delayed from February to Easter, then July and now early August.

Workers at the site yesterday said they were racing to finish the building for July 26.

Naylor Love Construction director Scott Watson said weather damage to the cardboard tubes was always expected and the repairs were being carried out now the building was watertight.

The cardboard columns were cosmetic only, with the building load carried by timber beams concealed inside the tubes.

However, the finished product would still look exactly like the original "fairytale" portrayed.

Japanese architect Shigeru Ban originally designed the cathedral to be held up by cardboard tubes made in Christchurch. However, a Christchurch paper company could not make tubes thick enough to support the building and Ban wanted to use local materials rather than import them.

The project was delayed by heavy rain early in construction and the coloured windows taking longer than expected to install. Late design changes had also delayed the project.

Anglican church spokesman Jayson Rhodes said the cardboard problems had not contributed to delays.

"Some cardboard got wet in recent storms before the roof was completed, so that is being fixed," he said.

"The rain was coming in every direction. The best efforts were made to protect the cardboard with wrappings."

June was one of the wettest in Christchurch on record, with more than four times the average rainfall.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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