Barry Cox is a man with a dream – a dream to create a grand church on his sprawling property in New Zealand. And he did just that.
This verdant church is located in Waikato, New Zealand, and is set among Cox’s 12,000 square meters (1.2 hectares) of luxuriant gardens. If the sun is shining too brightly, there’s also a shady area under a canopy made from a military cargo parachute.
Speaking to NZ House & Garden, Cox explained how his trips abroad to Europe had first inspired him to create an ancient stone church on his property. However, not being able to source the necessary materials led him to a more natural resource: trees.
Cox’s business involves moving heavily rooted, mature trees with a large mechanical spade to transfer whole trees from one site to another.
“You’ve got to get the proportions right,” Cox said, explaining how he envisioned the natural church. “There’s a formula, from an architectural point of view.”
Upon completion, the leafy construction attracted crowds wanting to view the church and its surroundings, as well as couples who wished to be married inside the tranquil building. This astounded Cox, who said: “I built it for me. It was my retreat from society.”
However, Cox has now opened his church for two days to the general public and takes wedding bookings for prospective newlyweds, hoping to make their special day even more memorable.