Cathedral to rise again?
There is Easter hope from New Zealand. The four-year deadlock over the rebuilding of Christ Church Cathedral may be about to be broken. Up to now there has been a division between those determined to see the cathedral rebuilt and those who want a completely new structure less vulnerable to earthquakes. New Zealand architect Sir Miles Warren has come up with a plan to rebuild George Gilbert Scott’s original building in timber. Timber played a big part in Scott’s original design for the cathedral because he knew of the earthquake risk. Timber is less at risk from earthquakes than stone and had the interior structure been built in wood as Scott first envisaged the Cathedral might still be standing today, as is the case with the wooden St Michael and All Angels church in Christ Church. It was the first bishop who insisted the cathedral be built in stone. In the new plans the whole of the interior would be rebuilt in laminated timber, all lightweight and earthquake-proof, continuing a great New Zealand tradition of wooden gothic. The exterior would look similar to the old building but with wooden cladding on sections of walls and a copper roof. Up to now the diocese has planned to demolish the old cathedral and build a new one but has encountered stiff legal opposition. At present worship takes place in a cardboard cathedral several blocks away.