Christchurch firm Warren and Mahoney Architects will work with American-based Catholic architectural specialists Franck & Lohsen Architects in the design of the new cathedral for Christchurch diocese.
To be built on a new central city site beside Victoria Square, initial design work has already started, but the new cathedral is not expected to be competed for five years. Anticipated to seat 1000, the cathedral site will also include an open courtyard, chancery offices and parking, as well as an adjacent garden.
Archbishop Paul Martin, SM, apostolic administrator of Christchurch diocese, said that the appointment of such a quality architectural partnership was a significant step forward in the creation of the cathedral precinct.
“Franck & Lohsen have worked on numerous churches around the world, including Australia. These include new churches as well as additions and renovations to existing churches.
“Their specialist knowledge of the Catholic faith, and the traditional and timeless style of architecture for which they are renowned, were key factors in their appointment.
Archbishop Martin added that, “There is a significant financial challenge for us in building the Cathedral and precinct”.
“The response of the Catholic lay leaders to date has been very generous, and I am quietly and prayerfully optimistic that the Cathedral Precinct Campaign that we will launch later this year will have the support of Catholics throughout Canterbury, Government and community so that we can begin construction of what will be an iconic Christchurch building,” he said.
Warren and Mahoney principal Richard McGowan said his company was thrilled to have been selected to work alongside the other parties, to deliver this significant project for the Catholic community and the city of Christchurch.
Principals Michael Franck and Art Lohsen travelled to Christchurch to meet with key members from the diocese. They spent time looking at the old cathedral, at the site for the new cathedral, as well as visiting other cities in New Zealand to help with their understanding of this unique project.
Mr Franck said that, for this important new cathedral, the goal is to create a timeless building that will look like it has always been there.
“Such buildings – rooted in a universal, traditional language – resonate with the human spirit. We hope to design a uniquely New Zealand-style cathedral, bridging a classical style of architecture with more contemporary styles.
The Franck & Lohsen team has been working with other parties for the past few months on developing a concept design for the new cathedral.
“We expect this initial effort will be completed within the next few months and, once initial pricing is confirmed, the project will then proceed to design development,” Mr Franck said.
In 2019, Christchurch diocese announced that it was planned to include in the precinct a new cathedral, a pastoral centre / community hub, a primary school for a relocated St Mary’s Primary School, offices for the diocese and residential accommodation for clergy, plus a multi-storey car parking building,
The 2019 cost estimates for the precinct, as the project was initially envisaged, including land and buildings were: $85 million for the cathedral, $11 million for the primary school, and $30 million for the diocesan share of the joint venture with the Carter Group, for the pastoral centre, offices and clergy accommodation plus 600-vehicle car parking building.