Leading architect says cathedral must come down

8:29 am on 12 March 2012

A leading Wellington architect and Christchurch architectural ambassador says ChristChurch Cathedral must be replaced.

The 130-year-old Anglican church in central Christchurch was severely damaged in a devastating earthquake on 22 February last year and has continued to deteriorate as frequent tremors occur.

Work is due to start soon to bring its walls down to no more than three metres high due to safety concerns.

Ian Athfield told Radio New Zealand' Morning Report programme on Monday the building must be replaced in a central location and while the ruins need to come down, the building materials should be preserved.

"There are a lot of materials being lost in Christchurch, so I've got no doubt the building has to be dismantled fairly quickly, but all materials have to be saved.

"There needs to be a vision - and that vision probably should come earlier rather than later."

At least 20,000 people queued the length of Cashel Mall to get a last glimpse of the cordoned-off cathedral on Sunday.

Many people said the damage did look worse when seen first-hand, but are divided on whether the building should be totally demolished.

Many felt that safety factors and the cost mean the building should go, while others called for funding to rebuild the cathedral in its former style.

The Anglican Church owns the building and says once it has undergone further work a decision will be made on a new cathedral.

Next weekend is the the last chance for the public to see the cathedral before it is pulled down.