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Holy Trinity

By April 4, 20133 Comments

At last the Anglican church in Christchurch appears to be speaking the same language as the people.
Finally, two years after the earthquakes, the Bishop Victoria Matthews has decided to approach the question of a replacement cathedral in a manner that does, to some extent, involve the People. A choice range of three possible options for rebuilding the Anglican Cathedral has been published today, and we wish our southern cousins all the best in the ensuing discussions.

We all know what Bishop Matthews preferred option is, as she has made her stand quite plain before, but at least, here are three options presented for discussion, even if the outcome is probably already well known. there is of course the full rebuild, looking just like the original:


Then there is a “traditional” option, which also looks outwardly similar, although I suspect that it may be made from timber. Is this an updated version of the proposal that Sir Miles Warren put forward some months ago?:

And lastly, but not leastly, here is a very exciting new church design by Warren and Mahoney, or WAM as they are now formally known, seeing as Miles and Maurice are no longer employed there. This is truly a great step forward for proposals of a replacement church, and is sure to get many people excited. It has a look reminiscent of Piano’s centre for the Kanak people, in the manner of giant upturned boats (oh no! Christchurch in-joke!) or clasped hands (much better) or even petals (very buddhist…). And seriously – its pretty lovely. There is even a suspended rose window, hanging in the space like a giant hippy wind chime:

I thought that the church missed a vital chance a couple of months back to get the public back on side, with Miles’ well rendered sketches of a structure composed of giant curving timber beams, that seem to have been passed over in discussions:

That one also looked suitably gothickesque inside, as would be expected by a master of Architecture like Miles:

No doubt the discussion is running red-hot down there in ChCh. What do you think?

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  • Guy says:

    Further to the hasty blog post above, I’ve since discovered the excellent cathedral conversations website, where far more pictures can be found, in far higher quality images. And a forum is set up for design consultation and also for considered submissions – more than are coming in on the stuff/press website at present! Here’s the link to the website: http://cathedralconversations.co.nz/

  • Guy says:

    Jane Bowron in the Dom, noting some of the dialogue about the cathedral from down south… indeed, some about the similarity to body parts down south…
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/8521105/Options-Two-islands-one-cathedral

    “The shape and look of things is utterly subjective as I have read with recent fascination in The Press the reaction to the option of the contemporary new cathedral; British and Australian architects wading in with a veritable smorgasbord of insults to describe it such as: vulgar; bizarre; painfully voguish; cold and clever; and outright Salt Lake City.

    Hilariously someone likened it to an upturned dinghy in keeping with the once whimsical theme of Bishop Victoria Matthews’ idea of a beach in Cathedral Square. My very favourite insult was made by Dr Liz Gordon, who wrote: “The neo neo Neo-Gothic new cathedral with that dreadful Batman- type spire and front that looks like a lady’s parts is just horrible.”

    Gosh, I hadn’t seen that in the contemporary design but now that she has pointed the gynaecological shape out to me I am determined to like this cathedral more than the other two on offer because of its celebration of “lady’s parts”.
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    Surely if the contemporary option is selected it will even up the balance after centuries of churches and cathedrals brazenly thrusting the skies with towering phallic spires. I wonder if the contemporary cathedral’s designer Warren & Mahoney is aware it has joined the coven of the gynocracy and is involved in an architectural conspiracy to turn the new build of the Christ Church Cathedral and churches into wombs.

    Actually I can’t perceive of any area more comforting than to sit in contemplation cradled in a large womb, the light pouring in through curtains of stained glass.

    To me the repellent option is a total restoration bringing the cathedral back from the dead or half dead in this case, in a slavish copy and cloning of the old. That would be as if the earthquakes had never happened, hadn’t profoundly changed us.

    It is time to take our heads out of the liquefaction sand, be bold and shed Christchurch’s reputation of being that “very English of cities”, drop the First Four Ships rubbish (I’d rather be in the upturned dinghy) and end the sycophantic forelock tug to Old Blighty. Building a new cathedral is a good place to start.”