Telling the stories of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, NZ and Polynesia

Christ Church reveals visionary plan

Christ Church Cathedral’s reinstatement company has released a plan to move into the future with a reinstated historic Cathedral building and a modern ‘Cathedral Quarter’ that promises to revitalise the heart of both city and diocese.
• Cathedral leaders look for $26m in one year
• Cost to reinstate Christ Church cathedral goes up by $50m
• Cost of new Cathedral plan skyrockets
• Commentator welcomes inspirational new Cathedral design

Julanne Clarke-Morris  |  23 Oct 2020  |

Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Limited (CCRL) has released a visionary ‘Concept Design’ this week for the reinstated Anglican Cathedral of Christ Church and supporting buildings on Cathedral land to be known as the ‘Cathedral Quarter’.

“This is an investment in the future of the central city, Christchurch and Canterbury.” said Bishop of Christchurch Rt Rev Peter Carrell.

Bishop Peter reiterated that the Anglican Cathedral will once again be not only the seat of the Anglican faith in Canterbury, but the well-loved iconic building at the heart of Christchurch city.

CCRL Chair Justin Murray said the improved landscaping and appearance of the Cathedral Quarter will be a point of pride for the city and revitalise Christ Church Cathedral and the Square as top attractions.

In the CCRL Concept Design, the Cathedral will be returned to its original footprint and historic appearance with two-tone stone exterior, an expanded redesigned porch, and two adjoining replacement vestry structures that will now take on the historic stone design style. Additional new buildings in the Cathedral Quarter will both contrast with and complement the style and function of the main Cathedral buildings.

A new Cathedral Visitors’ Centre will be built to the north of the Cathedral, with a ground-level café and terraced steps leading down to a lowered landscaped courtyard which will house a museum and shop.

The new design also includes a ‘Cathedral Centre’ to the south, which will provide gathering spaces, offices and amenities for both Cathedral ministries and to host wider community use.

The new Cathedral Centre and Visitors’ Centre will incorporate glass and timber textures that lighten the interiors and create a visual connection to Cathedral Square.

Bishop Peter Carrell says the Cathedral itself will be more flexible and function better for a variety of uses, including new features to enhance worship in its reinstated interior.

“The Cathedral, through this Concept Design, will look very similar, retaining many heritage features, is more welcoming and will have improved flexibility for worship and events, supported by improved acoustics and a refurbished and better situated organ.” he said.

Bishop Peter is excited that the design incorporates unfurling fern fronds in the paving leading to the Cathedral, which visually express the church’s desire to extend welcome and peace to all.

“It is a wonderful piece of design work, by Warren and Mahoney and Snohetta that is distinctly Kiwi.” he said.

“This great looking plan offers a vibrant, attractive, functioning Cathedral Quarter that we are convinced will stimulate social, economic and tourism activity in Cathedral Square and the wider central city.”

While Bishop Peter stands behind the visionary Cathedral Quarter plan, he warns this new asset for church and nation will come at a cost.

“We estimate the total project cost now to be just over $154 million. That’s to deliver the entire Cathedral Quarter—the reinstated and enhanced Cathedral, landscaping and the two new external buildings and associated costs.”

Bishop Peter says planners have known for some time that the overall cost would exceed the $104 million estimate developed by the Cathedral Working Group in 2016, which was based on an early engineering assessment of reinstatement and did not meet the project’s full scope.

“Since then, CCRL has been working with us to bring together all the requirements and practicalities of the project to arrive at the current estimate. We have resolved a range of scope and functional matters during the concept design and dealt with many constraints.” he said.

One constraint is that the original Visitors’ Centre and 1960s vestries will have to be removed to facilitate the reinstatement.

“It has been a logical, robust, well-thought-out process and it has taken until now for us to pin down how the look, feel and function of the Cathedral Quarter will really be – and, as such, get a reasonable cost estimate for this stage of design.”

Peter Guthrey, Chair of the Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Trust says that today’s fundraising target stands at approximately $51 million.

“The fundraising target is ambitious yet achievable, and we are confident that a wide range of people here in New Zealand and from around the world will provide support. The good news is with over $100 million already raised, we are already two thirds of the way to our goal,” said Mr Guthrey today.

The official Reinstate website presents the full Concept Design here.

Take a virtual tour of the Cathedral Quarter design here.