Architects and engineers are always looking for ways to make buildings safer and stronger, especially in areas that are prone to earthquakes. Christchurch, New Zealand, is just such a place, with a series of particularly severe earthquakes between September 2010 and January 2012. The worst of these quakes struck the city on 22 February 2011, killing 185 people and destroying or damaging thousands of buildings, including severe damage to ChristChurch Cathedral.
In one of the more innovative attempts to construct a quake-proof structure, Japanese architect Shigeru Ban was invited to design a temporary replacement. His ingenious building consists of 96 giant cardboard tubes reinforced with wooden beams, with a polycarbon roof and walls made from shipping containers. Widely known as the "Cardboard Cathedral," the building is quake-proof, fireproof, and weatherproof, the cardboard having been coated with polyurethane and flame retardants. It was dedicated in 2013 and has been welcoming worshippers ever since.
A closer look at Christchurch:
- Located on New Zealand's South Island, Christchurch is the second-most populous city in the country, after Auckland.
- In March 2019, two mosques in Christchurch were targeted by a far-right terrorist; the mass shootings claimed the lives of 51 people.
- Due to its extreme southerly location, Christchurch has historically been used a departure point for Antarctic expeditions, including those headed by Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott.