Adventurous plan would keep Christ Church Cathedral a ruin surrounded by reflective pool

A Walker Community Architects' plan for Christ Church Cathedral.

A Walker Community Architects' plan for Christ Church Cathedral.

Do not rebuild it or repair the Christ Church Cathedral – keep it as a precious ruin surrounded by reflective pool, an architectural practice suggests.

Inspired by ideas overseas, Walker Community Architects proposed what they call a third way to deal with the earthquake-wrecked church.

The suggestion follows Anglican Bishop Victoria Matthews' recent suggestion the church give the cathedral to the public. The church has established a temporary cathedral two blocks east and received an insurance payout of around $42 million for the old building.

Inside the glass tunnel option.
supplied

Inside the glass tunnel option.

Walker Architects said their plan would leave the old cathedral as a publicly-owned "preserved and accessible archeological ruin". It proposed two options.

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One option would place a glazed cross-shaped enclosed passageway through the missing west wall and into the building. A second option would glaze the west wall with an engraved screen depicting what was once there.

Both options include removing the remains of the tower, porch, western wall and debris. The ruin would be surrounding by a large pool.

A glazed west wall is another option in 
Walker Community Architects' plan.

A glazed west wall is another option in Walker Community Architects' plan.

The plan would form "an island of magnificent ruins in the square", the architects said.

They suggest that if the Anglican church wanted a new cathedral, it could build a modern one elsewhere, perhaps underground alongside the site with a glazed ceiling looking towards the ruin.

The plan would save money and create "a preserved ruin for heritage, tourism, education and science". 

A cross-section of how an underground cathedral could look, alongside a preserved ruin of the old building.

A cross-section of how an underground cathedral could look, alongside a preserved ruin of the old building.

"Symbolic buildings that have fallen into ruin are rare in New Zealand, dissimilar to the many elsewhere in the world that have become major tourism and cultural attractions," the architects said.

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The architects are part of the Walker Architecture Group, based in Auckland and Queenstown. They said the aim of their cathedral plan was not to present a fully-resolved architectural design, but to stimulate further discussion on possibilities for the cathedral.

 

 - Stuff

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