Located near the city of Almere, Netherlands the Green Cathedral (De Groene Kathedraal) is the living art construction of Marinus Boezem. The living land art project is made up of 178 strategically-planted Lombardy poplar trees intended to mimic the architecture of the famous Cathedral of Notre Dame in Reims, France. The mature trees stretch almost 100 feet into the sky, and the “structure” itself is almost 500 feet long and 246 feet wide.
The Green Cathedral consists of 178 Lombardy poplar trees that form the walls of the cathedral, with pathways mirroring the arches of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame
Artist Marinus Boezem (Leerdam, the Netherlands, 1934) developed the idea for this Gothic Growing Project in 1978. In 1987, at the invitation of the engineers of the Rijksdienst Ijsselmeerpolders (RIJP), he planted 178 poplars (Populus Nigra Italica) according to the ground plan of the Reims Notre-Dame (1211-1290). Between the trees concrete paths have been laid out, reflecting the ribs of the cross vaults. The circles of shells around the trees refer to the sea that could be found here only about half a century ago.
The trees follow the columns and buttresses of the plan. Stone strips laid in the glass (faintly visible in the aerial) further mimic the groin vaults, inverting the church so that ground becomes the roof
Now mature, the cathedral has become a location for weddings, funerals, meetings, and religious services of all kinds. Nearby, a clearing has been made in a young beech forest so that the open space is in the shape of the same cathedral. Boezem suggests, as the poplars decline, the beech trees around the clearing will grow to create the church once more, thus ensuring a cyclical evolution of growth, decline, and growth.