Shigeru Ban: Cardboard Cathedral

Andrew Barrie. Photographs by Bridgit Anderson & Stephen Goodenough

A temporary building that is loved by people – even one built with mere paper – can become permanent. I sense that this monument in Christchurch will be loved and used by the citizens of New Zealand for a long time to come.
– Shigeru Ban


In Christchurch’s inner city an innovative and symbolic structure has just taken shape: a ‘Cardboard Cathedral’ to stand in for the historic building devastated by the earthquakes of September 2010 and February 2011. Signalling the beginnings of renewal in the CBD, the cathedral is the first new civic building completed since the quake and is built to last forever.

Shigeru Ban, its designer, is a world-class architect and expert in disaster-zone building – and the new cathedral is his largest post-disaster structure to date. In essays, building plans and specially commissioned photography, Shigeru Ban: Cardboard Cathedral tells the story of this remarkable feat. Originally conceived as a temporary building, its construction involved design challenges, structural innovations and community involvement; and the finished, now permanent structure seems set to become an enduring symbol of Christchurch’s revival.

Uniquely placed to assist Christchurch with this building of rich cardboard tubes and vivid colour, Shigeru Ban has been exploring questions about humanitarian and post-disaster responses for decades. What role can architecture play in the face of natural disaster? What sort of ideas and what sort of materials can be used to re-establish a community? How can the new draw from the old? Written by designer and leading scholar of Japanese architecture Professor Andrew Barrie, and fully illustrated with architectural drawings and photographs of the context, the people and the building, this book explores those questions as they played out in Christchurch. It offers visual and verbal insight into great architecture and its social role – a book for anyone interested in contemporary architecture and to all those looking toward what the future might hold for Christchurch.


Gold Award, Designers’ Institute of New Zealand Best Awards

Winner, Communication, iF Design Awards 2015

Winner, Gerard Reid Award for Best Book, Award for Best Illustrated Book and Award for Best Typography, PANZ Book Design Awards 2015


View sample pages
(4.8 MB, PDF)



Andrew Barrie is professor of design in the School of Architecture at the University of Auckland. He holds degrees from both the University of Auckland and Tokyo University. He is one of the few foreigners to have worked in the office of leading architect Toyo Ito and worked for Pip Cheshire in Auckland before joining the architecture school.

Includes a foreword by the Very Reverend Lynda Patterson, dean of Christchurch Cathedral; an essay by Shigeru Ban himself; documentary photographs by Bridgit Anderson; full-colour plates by Stephen Goodenough; and an afterword by David Mitchell.


August 2014, 235 x 165 mm, 252 pages, colour illustrations
Hardback, ISBN 978 1 86940 767 4, $59.99