Located in the same island country that the Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed is a structure that, like the hill-secured homes of the hobbits, also seems to hide within its natural environment. The Tree Church is formed almost entirely from living trees with thick leaves covering its shady interior. The New Zealand-based church can seat a hundred people and was first planted by Barry Cox on his property near Cambridge beginning in 2011.
The original inspiration behind the structure was a means for Cox to “retreat from society.” However, after others caught word of his living church as it grew into completion over the last 4 years, he decided to open it and the surrounding gardens for public and private events. The Tree Church is now set within three acres of extensive shaded gardens, including a labyrinth walk based on the ancient city of Jericho from 460 BC.
An iron frame is at the core of the church, as Cox wanted the walls and roof of the natural building to be distinctly different, “just like masonry churches,” he said. Cut-leaf alder was chosen for the roof as it is flexible enough to be trained over the frame which will be removed when the branches become strong enough to support the church themselves. (via Faith is Torment, Inhabitat)
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