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Archbishop Paul announces Cathedral architects

Archbishop Paul has announced that 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 the Christchurch Diocese.

Franck & Lohsen will lead the design with Warren and Mahoney as Associate Architect for the project.

In late December 2019 Archbishop Paul announced the site for the Cathedral to be in the central city, across from Victoria Square.

Initial design work has already commenced 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 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.

“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,” Archbishop Paul said.

Richard McGowan, Principal, Warren and Mahoney, said his company was  thrilled to have been selected to work alongside the Diocese of Christchurch and Franck & Lohsen Architects to deliver this significant project for the Catholic community and the city of Christchurch.

“The Christchurch Catholic Cathedral’s success will be measured by the community’s pride and ownership, its contribution to the environment, its long-term operational performance and its symbolism within the Catholic community and the city’s heart. As a team, we are passionate about creating a sustainable design solution that will be culturally welcoming and inclusive,” he said

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.

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.

“At Franck & Lohsen we believe we have the requisite training and experience to design buildings that meet these challenging objectives,” he said.

As  part of this initial process, Franck & Lohsen interviewed several architectural firms in Christchurch and upon its first meeting instantly connected with Warren and Mahoney, finding them ‘charismatic, passionate, talented, well-staffed, respectful and very talented from a design point of view’.

“While their style is more contemporary, we see a genuine desire and interest from them in working on a more traditional style project. Likewise, we saw in them a partner that could stylistically bridge a more traditional Cathedral with adjacent office space for the Diocese and an open courtyard that would meld seamlessly into the established Christchurch urban context,” Franck said.

The Franck & Lohsen team has been working for the past few months on developing a concept design for the new Cathedral. Also included in this team are RCP Project Management, Lewis Bradford Consulting Engineering, Novo Group planners, Boffa Miskell Urban Design, Ralwinson, Elliot Sinclair,  Pattle Delamore and  Powell Fenwick.

“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,” Franck said.