PLACE OF WORSHIP: An artist's rendering of the transitional cathedral.
The designer, Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, will turn the soil on the cathedral's planned site on the former parish of St John's, on the corner of Hereford St and Madras St, next week.Construction will soon begin on a cardboard cathedral to temporarily replace Christ Church Cathedral.
It is expected the 700-person-capacity structure will be completed by December.
Ban revealed his design last August, quoting the construction cost at $4 million.
Richard Gray, of the Transitional Cathedral Group, said the diocese had ''the bulk of the money ... in hand but there will be further fundraising to meet the costs of building the temporary structure''.
''This is a very exciting next step for the project,'' he said.
''The transitional cathedral is a symbol of hope for the future of this city as well as being sustainable and affordable.
''The cathedral is confident it will attract interest nationally and internationally, drawing additional visitors to the city."
The innovative structure will comprise cardboard tubes, timber beams and structural steel.
It will serve as a temporary cathedral until a new Christ Church Cathedral is constructed, and will then remain in place as St John's parish, whose church, vicarage and hall were demolished after the February 2011 earthquake.
The diocese hopes it will also provide a venue for concerts, exhibitions, civic and community events.
Linked containers will sit alongside the cathedral to house a cafe, shop, meeting rooms, amenities and offices.
Designed to last more than 20 years, it will be the largest ''emergency structure'' Ban has designed.
He is known for his work in disaster zones, including Rwanda in 1994, Kobe after the 1995 quake, Turkey in 1999 and Haiti last year.
Warren and Mahoney will soon start the detailed design for the transitional cathedral.