Willow Cathedral Pays Homage to Nature in the City

Looking a bit like a massive urban bird’s nest, this rustic, natural cathedral contrasts with the geometric, modern architecture beside it. Made by Patrick Dougherty, ‘Ballroom’ is currently on display in Melbourne’s Federation Square. It’s made of more than 10 tons of willow tree saplings, and took three weeks to weave.

While most people in the United States view willow trees as beautiful and desirable, in the Australian state of Victoria, they’re considered a weed due to their invasive roots and heavy leaf fall, which can reduce water quality. The state spends about $2 million AUD per year trying to manage them.

Dougherty has chosen to use the thin, flexible branches of these trees to create beautiful structures, using just gloves and a pair of clippers. The shape of this particular creation was inspired by that of the architecture of Federation Square, including Flinders Street Station and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

‘Ballroom’ will be open to the public until early 2013. See more photos at Design Boom.

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