Historical Cathedral Renovation Takes Choose Your Own Adventure Route

Illustration for article titled Historical Cathedral Renovation Takes Choose Your Own Adventure Route

New Zealand's ChristChurch Cathedral was seriously damaged in a 2011 earthquake. The historic place of worship is going to be remade soon, but how? The city's Anglican diocese, the property trustees, and the cathedral project group have come up with three different options the remodel, and anyone can vote.

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Check out the three choices above. From left to right, you'll see a historical restoration, a traditional renovation, and a contemporary interpretation. Each one retains some structural integrity of the original building, but they're all completely different. Organizers are taking into account the somewhat conflicting priorities of the rebuild—the mission of the church, the history of the place, the building's status as a historical landmark, and so on—so they're holding public forums this month to hear feedback before making a final decision.

Here's what the poor church looks like now:

Illustration for article titled Historical Cathedral Renovation Takes Choose Your Own Adventure Route
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This is option one, the historical restoration. It would restore the building to its original form, while bringing it up to current building codes. But it would also be the most expensive and time consuming.

Illustration for article titled Historical Cathedral Renovation Takes Choose Your Own Adventure Route

Here's option two, the traditional renovation. It would reinterpret the original gothic forms in the nave of the church with new wooden timbers. It would also improve on acoustics, accessibility, and circulation, and it would be more earthquake resistant. However, the added safety factor would mean sacrificing some of the historical features of the cathedral.

Illustration for article titled Historical Cathedral Renovation Takes Choose Your Own Adventure Route
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And finally, option three, the contemporary redefinition, would be completely different. Designed by local firm Warren & Mahoney, it would have a lightweight timber frame that gives the church a totally new skeleton. It would be the fastest, cheapest, and most technologically advanced, but it doesn't do much, if anything, to preserve the original structure.

Illustration for article titled Historical Cathedral Renovation Takes Choose Your Own Adventure Route
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Which design would you choose? Or would you junk the whole thing in favor of something different? [DesignBoom]

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DISCUSSION

"Each one retains some structural integrity of the original building..." I'm guessing that in #3 the parts of the original building being kept are hidden? I would've preferred a blend of the current and #3, but I guess #2 is the best option. #3 looks cool, but it looks more like a church on the campus of Starfleet Academy.