World's First 'Cardboard Cathedral' Opens

Anglican diocese of Christchurch/AP Photo

Like most cathedrals, it's both a place of worship and a tourist attraction.

Unlike most cathedrals, it's made primarily of cardboard.

The world's first " cardboard cathedral" opened earlier this month in Christchurch, New Zealand, after two years of planning and construction. The Cardboard Transitional Cathedral, as it's officially called, was put up when the original cathedral was badly damaged in an earthquake in February 2011.

"Even concrete buildings can be destroyed by earthquakes very easily," said Shigeru Ban, the architect who designed the cathedral free of charge. "But paper buildings cannot be destroyed by earthquakes."

Credit: Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images

The building is made up of 98 cardboard tubes weighing up to 120 kilograms (265 pounds) and measuring up to 20 meters (about 65 feet) long. It can seat up to 700 people It is built to last at least 50 years and is "100 percent" up to earthquake code.

Credit: Christchurch Cathedral

But what about the rain? The cathedral has a polycarbonate roof and a concrete floor, according to its website.

The church is Anglican in denomination, but the Christchurch tourism board is hoping it will draw visitors of all faiths and backgrounds. It's already been booked for conference dinners and cocktail parties.