The Garden Which Is the Nearest to God | Taturo Atzu, 2015

Arts and heritage
A garden has risen above Amsterdam's Red Light District. Commissioned by the Oude Kerk, the Japanese artist Taturo Atzu realised a sensational transformation by constructing a temporary platform on the roof of the church. For ten weeks, ‘The Garden Which is the Nearest to God’ transformed the roof of the Oude Kerk into an exhilarating attraction: its unorthodox function offered us new sights and insights. The super-construction offered visitors a unique vista of the red light district while simultaneously giving access to an architectural domain normally hidden from public view. The ‘garden’ questioned the contemporary significance of the monument and laid bare tensions between public and private space. Atzu's installation not only referred to the classical idea of a church as meeting place, this project also embodied the gradual shift from religious to cultural space. On the platform, one could visit an Amsterdam-style living room, between public and private.