1235 – the Koutloumousiou Garden Project

This week the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture (Academie van Bouwkunst) launched a project of four students, who’s assignment was to design a botanical garden for the Holy Monastery Kotloumousiou on Mount Athos. In the spring of 2011 a group landscape architecture students traveled to Athos, where they had been invited to work on concepts for garden restoration and the addition of new gardens to the thousand year old monastery.

The project was instigated by Rieks Bulthuis, Pilgrim of the Koutloumousiou monastery.

This is what their website tells:

“Twelve students work in groups on designing the garden for the Holy Monastery. At the beginning of the project students visited and studied the site and listened to the conditions and requirements, which formed the basis for the design. After eight weeks, all students delivered a design on
the gardens. After this first design period students worked further on the materialization of the plan, on planting and detailing of the conceptual ideas. After again eight weeks they presented their detailed plans. The plans were combined into a booklet and presented to the monastery”.

Four proposals by the students were made:

Project 1




 Map of the area with curving wall leading downwards.

Photoshoped picture of how it could look like.

Project 2

Detailed map of the Karyes/Koutloumousiou area with the projected garden

Image of the “Pilgrim Path”

Watercolor of the plan

Project 3

Sketch of the Mountain

Plan that goes with project 3

Drawing of plan 3

Project 4

This project involves a rose garden, also for Arsanas Koutloumousiou, Kaliagra.

Location drawing

Artists impression

The abbot of the monastery Koutloumousiou wrote after their visit that the students’ through their openness, support and respect towards the monks way of life, have been an example for everyone in the monastery. This gave them a “welcome for the rest of their lifes” and he gave his blessing for their future development.

Soon the students travel to Greece again to give the brothers advise on the implementation of the proposed designs. The brothers chose not to realize one design, but they added together the best parts of all designs created.

The girls involved in these projects unfortunately had to stay in Thessaloniki…………..

A book about the projects will be published soon (from the Vasilis weblog).

Wim Voogd, Amsterdam, 6/7

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