Donnithorne unveils plan for church

CHARLEY MANN
Last updated 05:00 21/01/2013
Don Donnithorne cathedral proposal

PROPOSAL: Don Donnithorne's concept for a restored cathedral.

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Architect Don Donnithorne has unveiled his vision for Christ Church Cathedral in a bid to drum up enthusiasm for repairing the forlorn building.

Donnithorne is shocked at Cantabrians' "negative attitude" towards the cathedral.

"Time has moved on and the enthusiasm towards the cathedral has disappeared," he said.

The fate of the earthquake-damaged building has been a contentious issue, with many wanting it torn down and replaced, while others are fighting to have it restored.

Demolition began last year, but in November a High Court ruling ordered that work be stopped until further notice.

Donnithorne said repairing the cathedral made more sense than the "enormous disaster" of the cardboard cathedral, a temporary replacement being built near Latimer Square.

The remaining structure of Christ Church Cathedral was sound and could easily be strengthened, he said.

"I see this as a challenge which can be met.

"When you look at the ridge of the roof it is as sharp and true as it can be," Donnithorne said.

"The view of the cathedral from the south side, as you approach from Colombo St, is in perfect shape."

Donnithorne released concept designs for repairing the cathedral in April, but his tower drew unfavourable comparisons with the fairytale Rapunzel's Tower.

He envisaged a new tower, complete with "massive concrete pillars" that would strengthen the cathedral by linking the west end to the existing structure.

It would be to scale with the tower that collapsed in the February 2011 earthquake.

"This is a most dramatic occasion for restoration," he said.

"It could be one of the finest cathedrals in the world.

"I am determined to do all that I can to save that cathedral."

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