Christ Church Cathedral

  • CCRL
  • Canterbury – West Coast

Christ Church Cathedral is one of New Zealand’s most iconic buildings, and holds considerable heritage and architectural value.

The Cathedral suffered extensive damage in the devastating Canterbury earthquakes of 2011. Its reinstatement  has been described as one of the most complex heritage projects in New Zealand currently, due to the structure’s vulnerability, implications to health and safety, and intense public interest.

RCP was employed by the Anglican Diocese to oversee the recovery programme, explore all of the options, and help to determine the future of the Cathedral and the adjacent Square.

Following the decision to reinstate the Cathedral, RCP became part of the Cathedral working group and compiled a governmental briefing paper that outlined the possibilities offered by a joint venture approach. As a result, the Government and Christchurch City Council provided funding to reinstate the Cathedral. 

The partnership led to the establishment of Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Limited (CCRL), the project’s delivery arm, and personnel from RCP were seconded for design management services of the concept and developed design phases, and then the initial delivery phase for the project through stabilisation and early strengthening.

RCP worked closely with the consultants, main contractor and subcontractors to find the best solution for each situation. This required analysing programme, cost, health and safety, heritage and quality outcomes for each decision to find the most efficient way forward – as funds for the project are limited, there are many challenges to resolve.

For safety reasons, the structure was first stabilised to 34 percent of the new building standard to ensure the site was no more unsafe than other construction projects. RCP coordinated at a technical level with all project parties to understand and plan how all work was going to be done safely through methodology, while also considering the heritage fabric, cost and programme efficiencies. 

Stabilisation is now complete and the project is underway with the strengthening phase, focusing on the superstructure before commencing substructure.  

The reinstated Christ Church Cathedral , and the supporting buildings that will form the Cathedral Quarter, will look similar and retain many heritage features; it will also be significantly more resilient. The Cathedral will be seismically strengthened to modern standards. It will be more comfortable, accessible and better equipped than before to meet the demands of a modern congregation.

The project is due to be completed in 2027.