Sometimes the sheer audacity of something, which leaps over the boundaries of the standard-issue responses to habitation issues, can become an agent of needed shift, or change. Here's an example of this in Bergamo, in northern Italy. This project is a structure made out of living trees, a cathedral form that will grow into form and shape.
It's a collaborative effort between government, artists, community, and businesses. The result will be a living cathedral, recently consecrated by the Church and standing as a message about the relationship between humanity and nature. It has a similar site response as other small "spiritual" cathedrals have had in natural settings, such as the Swedenborgian Wayfarers Chapel by Lloyd Wright in Palos Verdes, and Thorncrown Chapel by E. Fay Jones in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
To quote Gadling:
The man behind the work is the recently deceased Giuliano Mauri, an Italian artist who was commissioned as part of a project for the UN's International Year of Biodiversity. The frame of the building will initially be made up of more than 1,800 fir tree poles, 600 chestnut branches, and 6000 meters of hazel branch, planted in-between with growths of live Beech trees. As the Beeches grow, the wood frame will decompose, allowing the living trees to take over the structure.
According to the italian site CATTEDRALE VEGETALE DI OLTRE IL COLLE
Originally the idea of President Park Orobie Franco Grassi, to erect one of the first green cathedrals in Italy, could not find an outlet in its practical implementation because of the unavailability of a place to realize it here in Over the Hill - with the mayor Manenti Rosanna and her team - immediately found enthusiasm and what was missing.
No funds or funding for the work, of course, but a location with environmental certification, well fit for purpose, and most importantly the ongoing revaluation and the full cooperation of the Municipality and local associations and with which there excellent value. In a few months, we could see materialize in our area starting this realization "of art and nature" (better defined the term land art or earth art), which will include more than ten years to complete, and then the maintenance will require the involvement and participation not only institutions but also the volunteers, fans and experts, not always in reality, having the knowledge of the art of constructing Roccoli.
I am convinced that one day we will all be even more proud to include amongst the beauties which attract the attention of visitors in our concerts, this "Cathedral plant" that nature and human intervention make over the years a true work monumental art.
Claudio Massimo Leoni
Tourist President Pro Loco Over the Hill
Inaugurated Sept 4, 2010 Video (Italian) interview with Grassi, with documentation of the design and drawings.