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Marco Casagrande; Forest Temple in Lithuania

The Nature of Architecture: Forest Temple in Lithuania

The separation of architecture and nature takes place where nature and culture are observed in isolation from each other. At least since the Enlightenment, the call for a return to nature has been heard at regular intervals. Since then, a seemingly irresolvable separation has existed between the culture of the Modern and the healing power of ungroomed nature promoted by John Ruskin in his day. But when does nature become culture? The boundary is fluid. After all, people are both part of the former and creators of the latter.

Under the direction of Finland’s Marco Casagrande, three architects have established a group known as Constructive Shamanism in order to create a meditative retreat to untouched nature along with interested »artists, craftspeople, architects, photographers, yogis and children.« This raises architecture to a shamanist ritual: the forest temple was the result of an exemplary collective architecture performance that took place last summer in Lithuania. The space that was created is highly symbolic: it has no walls or ceilings; it provides neither shelter from the cold nor protection from wild animals. Rather, it functions as a metaphor. This space must be a work of architecture with a higher cultural meaning. 

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