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Quake-Proof Cathedral Made of Cardboard

Posted by addisethiopia on September 15, 2013

QuakeProofCathedralYou’ll never look the same way at what lies at the centre of a toilet roll. Last week a $6 million “cardboard cathedral” was formally unveiled in Christchurch, New Zealand, replacing the building destroyed by the devastating 2011 earthquake.

Made from 98 giant cardboard tubes, the new Transitional Cathedral will hold 700 worshippers and is designed to last for up to 50 years – until a more permanent replacement can be built. The tubes are coated with three layers of waterproof polyurethane and most are sheltered by the polycarbonate roof, which is translucent and so glows when the cathedral is lit at night.

The cathedral was designed by Shigeru Ban, a Japanese architect who has been building with cardboard since 1986. Since then, Ban has designed everything from an art museum in Metz, France, to emergency accommodation following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

He says the new cathedral is earthquake-proof, fireproof and won’t get soggy in the rain. “The strength of the materials is unrelated to the strength of the building,” he told the Japan Times. “The first time I used paper was for an interior, but I realised it was strong enough to be used as a structural element – to actually hold up the building.” He says wood and paper can withstand quakes that would destroy concrete structures.

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