I’ve written before about what makes something architecture. It is something that I think we should be keenly interested in while being not that worried about it. Definitions are dangerous. A definition is just what this project, the ‘Cattedrale Vegetale’- designed by artist Giuliano Mauri, defies.
Built in the dimensions of a gothic cathedral, there are three naves constructed of 8o columns of plaited twigs. These stretch 12 meters in height and are 1 m in diameter. Within each column, which act as scaffolding for the future, is planted a single young hornbeam plant. These will grow, with the help of pruning, to the shape of the columns until one day when the scaffolding has rotted away, the cathedral is left constructed entirely of living plants.
The cathedral is open from every direction as a place of passage or that of silent, unmoving contemplation. It is hoped that it will become a backdrop for the creative disciplines, a place to marvel in the true blending of manmade nature.