4.4 Eco-cathedrals



more info: Stichting de tijd


Around 1965, artist and ‘wild gardener’ Louis Le Roy (1924–2012) started developing so-called eco-cathedrals. The central reserve of the President Kennedylaan in Heerenveen is a strip of one and a half hectares, one kilometre long and 15 meters wide, which would normally have been planted with a monoculture of ground cover. Together with local residents, Le Roy started a process without a plan and throughout time, which still continues today. They used the debris of a nearby demolition site to build small walls and seating areas, letting nature take its course. With time, the central reserve—now called the Le Roy Garden—has grown into an abundantly varied wild garden, a true forest even. He started a similar process by himself on a field in nearby Mildam (see images). Hundreds of lorries came in to deliver clinkers, paving stones and construction debris to form the base material for his stacked structures amidst the growing nature. Le Roy saw his eco-cathedrals as a cooperation between natural and creative-human processes that would endlessly continue to develop. This freedom has also resulted in a unique ecological significance of the projects. The eco-cathedral in Mildam, where volunteers took over Le Roy’s work after his death, has now been declared an official nature reserve. Similar eco-cathedral processes were initiated in other places as well. The formula is simple: start with space and time. People and nature use free energy (so without the help of machines, only using muscle power) to work on the area, such as a public park or private land, possibly using durable, reusable material. At present, this is mostly stone, but wood and glass can be used later as well. The stones are stacked loosely, and not cemented, so that animals can use the spaces between them to build nests, and plants can grow there. The work is done without a design, without a preconceived plan of how the area is to develop.

-Heerenveen /Mildam (NL) from 1965

-Louis le Roy

more info: www.stichtingtijd.nl

Kennedylaan Heerenveen, (photo JV)