Holy Greenery: Church Walls Covered in Living Grass

The entire interior of a beautiful Italian-style church in London has been transformed with living green walls, reviving the disused structure and turning it into an homage to the tenacity of life. Sound artist and composer Graeme Miller teamed up with Ackroyd & Harvey to create the surreal spectacle at Dilston Grove, a gallery and artist studio formerly known as Clare College Mission Church.

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Prior to being planted, the structure was in disrepair, boarded up and no longer offering a function to the community in which it’s located. The artists saw the first concrete church to be built in England as a potential site for a monumental artwork. “We were curious about how the architectural space, the atmosphere, and the perceptions of people entering into it, would be affected by the application of our materials,” they explain.

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A mixture of clay, germinating grass seed and water was applied to the walls and over a period of weeks it sprang up into a lush green carpet covering the building’s walls and bringing out architectural details like the arched windows. “Bringing memory to the surface, the living skin of grass literally drew life back within the fabric of the church. A momentary resurrection,” say Ackroyd and Harvey.

The duo frequently works with grass seed as an artistic medium, creating a series of living portraits and also covering the exterior of various buildings to soften hard surfaces and neutralize the connotations associated with abandoned military buildings. See more at their website.