cardboard cathedral

Dearest ______

I remember reading about a major earthquake that hit Christchurch in New Zealand not too long ago, one which caused great loss in lives and living to key areas of the disaster.
A tragically captivating phrase I caught recently could probably summarize the wake of that calamity in 2011:

“A mansion under English skies;
beautiful as a wreck of paradise.”

1

The other week, we discovered an architectural gem amidst Christchurch’s continued efforts to restore their near- lost urban paradise.

2

Just as we’d started getting into Shigeru Ban winning this year’s Pritzker Prize for his innovative and humanitarian use of recycled paper and cardboard tubes as architectural materials in disaster- stricken areas around the world, we suddenly came face to face with one of his most famous works.

The Cardboard Cathedral.

3

What a surreal autumn evening that was, seeing literal salvation in exciting colors and geometries.

4

As if that encounter wasn’t enough, the very next day we drove to the small and quaint town of Geraldine where:

We met an old man inside a museum who nonchalantly told us he personally knew “Shigeru”! This, he mentioned, after learning that we were in Design ourselves.

5

“Very nice man, that Shigeru. I chauffeured for him while he lived here, you know. Very hard- working man.

“Every four projects he gets, he does the last one for free. For charity. Every fourth, I tell you. Very nice man.”

6

We love Shigeru Ban already.

But now the only nagging question that’s in my mind is…
How do other disaster- prone countries (say, the Philippines, ehem) get into a rehabilitation program that’s as promising and, well, real as what they have down under?

7

Love,
Karlita

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