Design options for Christchurch cathedral revealed

5:20 pm on 4 April 2013

The Anglican Church has given details of three design options for a future cathedral in the centre of Christchurch.

Demolition of the severely earthquake-damaged ChristChurch Cathedral was halted in 2012 by a High Court injunction gained by a group supporting its restoration, rather than a replacement.

Options are restoration, a traditional church or a contemporary building.

Options are restoration, a traditional church or a contemporary building. Photo: SUPPLIED

The options presented by the Church Property Trustees are restoring the building, replacing it with a timber building in a similar style, or using a different more modern design.

The most expensive is restoration, estimated to cost $104 million to $221 million and to take between six-and-a-half and 22 years to complete. Church documents say under this option, the cathedral would be rebuilt based on its original form and materials.

Rebuilding in traditional style would involve a timber structure similar in form to the existing cathedral, with adaptions to meet design guidelines, and would reuse some of the existing building materials and contents. That would cost $85 million to $181 million and construction would take between five and 22 years.

Under the third option, a new timber structure that is a contemporary reinterpretation of the traditional Gothic plan would have a sculptured exterior in the form of hands in prayer.

It too would reuse some of the existing building materials and contents, and would to cost $56 million to $74 million and take from four-and-a-half years to nine-and-a-half years to build.

Anglican Bishop Victoria Matthews told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme on Thursday the spiritual potential of each idea needs to be considered.

"Which of these would allow the human spirit to soar, to reach beyond what they think is their potential and actually to connect with God."

The architects who created the designs, Warren and Mahoney, say the Anglican Church created a checklist of features it would like in the new building, and restoring the cathedral would meet just two of those. The contemporary design meets all 19.

The Anglican Diocese and Church Property Trustees will seek public feedback until 3 May, before the trustees select a preferred option.

But a group campaigning to save the cathedral says the Anglican Church is pushing its own agenda with the release of the design options.

Great Christchurch Buildings Trust co-chair Jim Anderton says it is clear the church does not want to restore the building, despite saying it has no preference.

"If you want to put out a choice for people, you make the one that you want look the best if you can, and the one that you don't want look the worst.

"So guess what the one that's got the highest cost and the longest period of time is the one they don't want."