Designed by Giuliano Mauri Giuliano Mauri's "Cattedrale Vegetale" is
arguably the most impressive piece of
‘natural architecture’ on Earth.
Located at the foot of Mount Arera on the
outskirts of Bergamo in the North of
Italy, this living sculpture consists of a cage made from wooden poles,
assembled to represent the columns of
a church nave. Inside this cage, Mauri
planted eighty hornbeam saplings.
The artist claims that, in fifteen years time,
the supporting structure will have gradually decayed and the hornbeams
will have grown to form a completely
organic "cathedral". Mauri laid the groundwork for the Tree
Cathedral in late 2001. Following his
death in 2009 the Cathedral was finally
completed in 2010 and it will remain as
a living memorial to Mauri’s work.
The Cathedral comprises 42 columns
forming a basilica of five aisles.
The project makes use of 1,800 spruce
trunks and 600 chestnut tree branches
which are bound together by over
6,000 meters of hazelnut twigs, utilizing local traditional methods of
intertwining and weaving. As the
beeches grow they will form a natural
roof across the Cathedral.
The Cathedral takes up 650 square meters and took
months to construct. It is more than 90 feet long, nearly 80 feet wide, and
ranges in height from about 16 feet to
nearly 70 feet.