Wellington’s Sacred Heart Cathedral closed for an indefinite period

sacred heart cathedral

Sacred Heart Cathedral in Thorndon, Wellington, closed its doors on Friday.

An assessment has found the building’s structural integrity to be just 15 per cent of the standard for a new building.

This means there would be a significant risk to occupants if there was an earthquake.

While Sacred Heart Cathedral is closed, weekday masses will in the short term take place at Sacred Heart Cathedral school.

Sunday masses will be celebrated at St Mary’s College Hall, Guildford Terrace.

A spokesperson said while the detailed planning for remediation work has not started yet, it is likely that the building will be closed for several years.

The restoration work will cost several million.

The Cathedral Parish will be enlisting the help of the people of Wellington and others to preserve this Wellington landmark.

Following a verbal report from structural and civil engineers, Dunning and Thornton, the Parish Committee has been working through a process of due diligence regarding the structural condition of the Cathedral.

On Thursday it received a peer review of the detailed seismic assessment (DSA) that recently advised that the Cathedral was ‘earthquake prone’ under the Building Act 2004.

Both reports have confirmed that the Cathedral currently presents a significant risk to occupants in the event of an earthquake.

In the 1980s the Cathedral was strengthened and the complex enlarged to include the foyer, Blessed Sacrament Chapel and Connolly Hall.

This work was done well and the building elements that were strengthened are rated well above the 33% minimum of NBS.

However, at roof level, ceiling diaphragms are insufficient to carry loads under the current building codes.

This has resulted in a lower earthquake rating being applied to the building.

Sacred Heart Cathedral, designed by architect Francis Petre, was opened in 1901.

In contrast to most other Wellington churches, its classical rather than Gothic styling has made it a prominent building on the Thorndon landscape.

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  • Supplied: Amanda Gregan Communications Advisor – NZ Catholic Bishops/Te Huinga o ngā Pīhopa Katorika o Aotearoa
  • stuff.co.nz
  • Image: Supplied New Zealand Catholic Bishops
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