Living Willow Structure – Auerworld Palace – Aeurstedt, Germany

auerworld palace auerworldpalast germany willow structure

Known as the “Mother of all willow palaces” this living structure (palace really) was created in 1998 in Aeurstedt, Germany in the region between Weimar and Naumburg.

Weaving live saplings together to form a domed cathedral space, architect Marcel Kalberer and his group Sanfte Strukturen are re-envisioning the way living building materials and techniques can be used.  This palace took the efforts of 300 volunteers to build, but now, over ten years later, it serves as a home for impromptu gatherings particularly for natural events such as the the full moon and other cultural and community celebrations.

The building techniques are based on the ancient Sumerian reed houses of Mesopotamia.  These were known for their construction by use of tightly bound reeds.  In this case the whole tree is woven in place to form a living structure.

Kalberer began his first living construction in 1984 and since then has built more than 70 structures around Europe. He has also shared and explained his technique to others, and according to Kalberer, there are now more than 10,000 small willow constructions at schools and in private gardens around Germany.

So this has me thinking, it is that time of year…you can buy willow stems to create your own Auerworldpalast inspired garden structure.  Bluestem Nurseries has all you need.   I am headed there now….

Created by Marcel Kalberer with Sanfte Strukturen (Bernadette Mercx, Dorothea Kalb-Brenek, Anna Kalberer, Eugen Lüdi, Jacky Roland,Philippe Rohner). Images from by Peter Ganser and from the Sanfte Strukturen website.

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.

2 Comments

  1. Dirty Girl Gardening on February 9, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    This is absolutely fabulous! I love these willow structures and have been tempted for years now to make one of my own.

  2. Louise on February 10, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Do check out New England Wetland Plants in Amherst, MA They have willow shoots (and more!) local, and very reasonably prices for that willow project you have in mind.
    http://www.newp.com/index.htm
    ps. my indoor planting list says its time to start onion, leek and first round of lettuces..is it possible?

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