Monday, 28 February 2011

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

During the Blitz, when Germany was trying to bomb Britain into surrender, the survival of St Paul’s Cathedral became a symbol of British resistance.

st-pauls-blitzThe survival of the Christchurch Cathedral after the first quake similarly lifted spirits—just as its wounding in this last, more destructive, shake, has dashed them.

Talk has already turned reflexively to rebuilding the cathedral as it was before, as a symbol of Christchurch’s own hoped for regeneration after the disaster.

But building as before would not acknowledge one of the most painful periods in the city’s life.  It would efface the memory of the tragedy.

Berlin, too had the its landmark Kaiser-Wilhelm-Ged√§chtniskirche damaged during the war, yet instead of rebuilding as before the otherwise uninspiring church was left damaged as a memorial, and a new contemporary tower constructed alongside. The damaged tower that remained was itself “a symbol of Berlin's resolve to rebuild the city after the war and a constant reminder of the destruction of war.”

3040242823_ee047673a8 ts Assuming it is to be rebuilt using donations and insurance, and not by the government sticking its hand in everyone’s pocket for them, something similar in Christchurch must surely be contemplated. It would be a much more meaningful restoration than simple emulation of what was there before?


  1. Rebuilding it with a modern steeple could be a nice touch. Perhaps part of the steeple could be translucent in some way with a powerful beam of light shooting up toward the heavens. The lighting effect in the winter with low cloud would provide interesting visuals as well as a fitting memorial.

  2. Yes, lets keep building pyramids, why not? we've been doing so for 6000yrs.

  3. I am not religious but I am from Christchurch. I would love to see (and would be happy to pay for) something like this. Thank you and thanks V - jon, you just don't get it. It is a symbol of a destroyed city and not something to do with fairies in the garden.


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