Tag Archives: architecture

From Oostburg to Christchurch, we are connected.

Yesterday, Ellen Grace at http://ellenolinger.wordpress.com/  prompted me to look more closely at the clip art she uses in her beautiful, gentle posts. I visited her link to Dover Publications and signed up for their free Sampler email. On signing up, I received access to a selection of clip art. The one that caught my eye immediately was this one, which is by Pugin.


Pugin, my mind thought. Pugin? Why does that name sound familiar? With a little more thought, I remembered that I “met” Pugin for the first time in December last year. I mentioned that meeting in this post


Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin  (1 March 1812 – 14 September 1852) “was an English architect, designer, artist and critic, chiefly remembered for his pioneering role in the Gothic Revival style; his work culminated in the interior design of the Palace of Westminster.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustus_Pugin

His influence extended to New Zealand and Australia, as did that of his son Edward Welby Pugin. If anyone is interested in Gothic Revival architecture here is a link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gothic_Revival_architecture  What I like most about the  Wiki article are the photos which show how we are linked all over the world by Gothic Revival ideas and buildings. Just goes to show how ideas and fashions criss-crossed the world, long before the internet, Google and Wiki.

Thanks, Ellen Grace, for helping me make all these connections 🙂


And the Bishop says…..

And the Bishop says, “let us cultivate a garden of gratitude”.

May this post be the beginning of my garden of gratitude; the starting point for my thankfulness for our new Transitional Cathedral.

The approach from the South

The approach from the South

My post contains excerpts from the homily of Bishop Victoria Matthews, delivered at the opening service for Christchurch’s Transitional Cathedral, on Sunday  evening, 1st September. The Cathedral was designed by international architect Shigeru Ban, and by Yoshie Narimatsu and Warren and Mahoney.  The photos accompanying the text were taken by me on a fleeting visit to the Cathedral last week. I hope that, through my photos, you will understand some of the serenity and peace, and beauty and inspiration that our new Cathedral provides. It is a blessing to, once again, have a space, a gathering place for contemplation and praise and heavenly music and song. And to have a haven that smells so deliciously of new cardboard boxes; that reminds one of the safety and fun of all those childhood castles built, and games played, with the humble cardboard box. 🙂

Cardboard  Haven

Cardboard Haven

“First of all this cathedral is important because it is beautiful. In a city that is full of detours and demolished buildings; vacant lots and construction sites, beauty is incredibly important. Beauty reminds us that we must live into our potential. Beauty tells us to keep striving for excellence.

It is beautiful

It is beautiful

Secondly, this cathedral is a house of God. Cities need houses of prayer and places of worship, lest we ever think we are all there is to life. How very sad that would be. So whether it is the architecture, the music, the preaching or the prayer, a cathedral is meant to tell us that there is much more to life than we can see or even imagine and this is the place to start the search.

a house of God

a house of God

Thirdly, the Transitional Cathedral is clearly situated at the centre of the broken heart of this city. ……the cathedral stands as both a reminder of the past and a beacon calling us forward. I do think people need to be reminded of hope, faith and love, and that is what this cathedral does.

At the centre

At the centre (the floor was still being finished for the opening service when I took this photo.)

Hope, faith, love

Hope, faith, love

For the full text of the Homily please link here http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/perspective/9117919/Beauty-makes-cardboard-cathedral-important

For my earlier post on the Transitional Cathedral please link here https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/1116/

For a few details about our Bishop (from Canada) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Matthews

© silkannthreades

I worship in cardboard

I went to Church on Sunday. It’s the first time I have been to Church in at least a year. It was a great service; standing room only. The congregation was a communion of strangers, tourists and photographers, and this is what we witnessed.

First the approach to the Church, known as the Cardboard Cathedral,( under construction). It is   on the corner of Madras and Hereford Streets, next to Latimer Square. It was formerly home to St John’s ( Church) which was demolished as a result of the damage it sustained during the February 22nd earthquake in 2011. Please, lift up your eyes to the dry, brown Port Hills in the distance.They are awesome in their stark, summer colour.Approaching

The Entrance; showing the remains of the old stone wall and wrought iron fencing of St John’s. St John's Remains

The gate was locked so I went round the corner, onto Madras Street, where the old wall ends. Here, there is a good view of the Eastern Elevation/ wall of the new Cathedral.  Note my valiantly artistic attempt to align the steeple of the old stone wall with the apex of the new wall 🙂Risen in the East Although it is called the Cardboard Cathedral, there is no cardboard in place yet. An adventurous young man, photographing from on top of a higher section of the old wall, kindly agreed to take a photo for me.  Here is the helpful stranger’s photo. I am pleased he has captured a small portion of a sample of cardboard tubing.Viewing from Fence Top

Then, a little further along the way, I took this photo which is my favourite of the day; mostly because of the stormy clouds in the background. But, also, it reminds me of a Cathedral spire reaching for the heavens.Reaching for the Sky

Next I tried a photograph from the erected wall towards Latimer Square, but all I could get was a tilted pyramid. Tilt, tilt, tilt, no matter where I stood. Westward leading

The view to the Port Hills was more straightforward.  If you click on the photo, you may be able to see The Sugar Loaf communications tower which seems, to me, to line up beautifully with the top of the Cathedral’s wall; is this a new, technologically advanced scheme to signal our prayers and wishes  more quickly to the appropriate destination?Out in the East

The white chairs in the distance are a beautiful tribute to the people who died in the earthquakes.

There was no ministering official at  the service. Only a sign to tell us the story.The Story

I had a lovely time at Church. It made me feel  uplifted, enlightened and spiritually revitalised. I love the site for the new Cardboard Cathedral. It is sacred both from its long history of prayer and worship and from its proximity to the traumas of the February 2011 earthquake. I love its openness; the way it is accessible from all directions; the way it opens out to a view of the Port Hills in one direction and the greenery of  Latimer Square in the other. Here is the view towards Latimer Square; imagine how lovely it will be for people to gather on the green after a church service or a community event; lovely, providing it’s a fair weather day, of course.Latimer Square I think I will love the Cardboard Cathedral when it is completed. I already love the fact that the triangular shape connects me to the  transitional V-huts made in Hagley Park by the early settlers. And, I know that I absolutely love Shigeru Ban’s sustainable, recyclable, inspiring designs. And I love that this soon to be Cathedral is super, super unlikely to ever hurt me in the event of another earthquake. It will be one building in the city in which I will feel completely safe and secure.

My visit to Church was very short and sweet, but the highlight of my spiritually invigorating morning came when I  returned to my car. I had parked nearby and left the motor running so that the air conditioning would keep my  ever patient husband cool  ( N.B. animals, husbands and small children should not be left for any length of time in a hot car). I noticed, vaguely, that a person (beer can at his side) was deeply asleep under a tree close by. Not too worried, I whizzed off, camera in hand. On my return, the person had arisen and was approaching, and gesticulating wildly at, the car.  It turned out that a) he was annoyed that the noise of the car had disturbed his peaceful, hung over Sunday snooze, but b) and, more importantly as far as he was concerned, we were ruining the environment by leaving on the car engine. Oh, my MORTIFICATION and GUILT were instantaneous. No church service is complete without Confession, it would seem. So, I promptly confessed my sins and offered profound and humble apologies. Guilty and double guilty, as charged. My only small and pitiful excuse for such aberrant, and ecologically unsound, behaviour was the heat. The heat; it had to be the Heat.

If you want to know more about the Cardboard Cathedral, Shigeru Ban or V-huts click on the following links which I found very interesting.





As a final note; when I refer to east and west in the post it is in relation to the  Eastern and Western Elevations which are referenced to elevations in  the old, earthquake damaged Cathedral in the Square. I am not sure of the exact orientation of the new Cathedral site but my inner compass tells me it is North/South-ish. I could be entirely wrong because trying to understand where one is, in much of the city these days, is like walking through a maze blindfolded.

© silkannthreades