Cathe­dral to rise again?

The Church of England - - COMMENT -

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.

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