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More than a building – the concept design for Christchurch Cathedral holds wider promise for the beautiful, revitalised city

The concept design and overarching vision for the reinstatement of Christ Church Cathedral provides the first public glimpse into the future reality of the city’s heritage and community centrepiece. Flexibility, investment opportunities and a generous sense of welcome are all part of the visionary mix

Designed by Warren and Mahoney

From the architects:

The concept design details the plan for the reinstated Anglican Cathedral and its supporting buildings that will make up the ‘Cathedral Quarter’, designed by Warren and Mahoney in association with Snøhetta Architects and Salmond Reed.

The cathedral remains the hero of the vision, supported by modern buildings that both contrast and complement it in terms of aesthetics and function.

To the north of the cathedral will be the new Cathedral Visitors’ Centre. On the ground level will be a café, with terraced steps leading down to a lowered, landscaped courtyard and museum and retail. 

To the south will be the ‘Cathedral Centre’ providing much-needed gathering spaces, offices and amenities. Both are designed to incorporate glass and timber textures to promote light and create a visual connection to the square.


Anglican Bishop of Christchurch, Rt Rev’d Dr Peter Carrell says the cathedral will have more flexibility in how it functions, due to planned enhancements internally and from the new supporting buildings.

“This is an investment in the future of the central city, Christchurch and Canterbury. The Anglican Cathedral is an iconic building at the heart of the city and the seat of our Anglican faith.

“The cathedral, through this concept design, will look very similar – retaining many heritage features – but will be more welcoming and have improved flexibility for worship and events, supported by improved acoustics, and a refurbished and better situated organ.

“I’m excited by the unfurling fern fronds expressed in the paving outside the Cathedral that extends welcome to all, as the fronds symbolise peacefulness of intent.”

Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Limited (CCRL) chair Justin Murray says the vastly improved aesthetics and landscaping of the overall Quarter will be a point of pride for the city and a revitalised New Zealand attraction.

“It is a wonderful piece of design work, by Warren and Mahoney and Snøhettta, that is distinctly Kiwi. The new modern buildings serve as a link to the contemporary buildings around the outside of the square and are complementary to the Cathedral.

The new modern buildings serve as a link
The new modern buildings serve as a link to the contemporary buildings around the outside of the square and are complementary to the cathedral.

“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.”

Project principal Peter Marshall was at the unveiling of the concept design, and he says he feels incredibly proud to be part of this project.

"We are delighted to release this concept design this morning, created by our in-house visualisations team. As a practice founded in Christchurch, this project holds a special place for Warren and Mahoney, and we are privileged to be a part of the restoration of this iconic cathedral.

"At the heart of this project is the desire to give back to the people of Christchurch and reconnect them with the cathedral, by retaining many of its recognisable, heritage features but also ensuring it represents a new, revitalised Christchurch through the addition of new, complementary modern buildings.

"Working in partnership with international practice Snøhetta and local heritage architects Salmond Reed, we are excited to share these visuals to give people a unique insight into this special restoration project for both Christchurch, and New Zealand as a whole."

Credit list

Architects
Heritage architects
Architects in association

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