The Living Chapel unites concepts of Nature, Art, Music and Architecture to inspire people to join together in caring for our world. A sacred space of serene harmony inspired by Saint Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis, and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals
The Living Chapel aims to encourage worldwide acts of ecological restoration, with an emphasis on tree-planting in support of the UN Trillion Tree Campaign.
At the end of the summer, the seedlings nurtured by the Living Chapel will be distributed throughout Italy to restore degraded lands and create new gardens.
Furthermore, through the creation of Laudato Si’ Gardens and Living Sacred Spaces globally, the Living Chapel will encourage collaboration to protect and rehabilitate the natural environment through concrete actions.
Having assembled the Chapel during the challenging circumstances of early 2020, the team wishes that, in the current global context, the Living Chapel will stand as a symbol of hope for the ecological awakening of humanity.
The installation is constructed entirely from recyclable and repurposed materials. Irrigation is solar-powered and occurs in a closed cycle that waters the plants and creates musical harmony.
The Living Chapel is a temporary home to thousands of saplings of dozens of tree species from Central and Southern Europe, representing an authentic example of biodiversity. A collection of ancient ‘forgotten’ fruit trees native to Italy’s Umbria region is planted in recycled oil barrels surrounding the garden, representing invaluable biodiversity and cultural heritage.
The installation was originated by Australian-Canadian music composer Julian Darius Revie with the support of over 100 students, inspired by the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Pope Francis’s 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’.
Designing and building the Living Chapel was an international, mostly volunteer effort, led by architectural designer Dr Gillean Denny. The fabrication of the Living Chapel was largely undertaken by faculty and students from the Department of Architecture within the Stuckeman School at The Pennsylvania State University, led by James Kalsbeek, and the Department of Welding & Metal Fabrication at Pennsylvania College of Technology, led by James Colton II.
Plant selection and Chapel assembly were carried out by an Italian team led by landscape architect Consuelo Fabriani. Construction supervision and technical verification of the project has been carried out by the engineer Enrico Grillo and the architect Joseph Alan Valia of Sequas Engineering. Assembly work and the systems installation were carried out by the Graziano Morello Group. The installation of the vertical garden has been curated by Verde Verticale The Laudato Si’ Gardens global initiative is coordinated by senior forestry expert Dr Alberto Del Lungo. A special thanks to Prof. Fabio Attorre, Director of the Botanical Garden of Rome, for his hospitality and support through the project' s development.
The Living Chapel Website