This “Space for language and the word” presents the archetype of a monastery garden – its ambulatory – using a modern form and symbolism. Its designed incorporates horizontal letters forming texts from the Old and New Testaments and philosophy.

After the Oriental “Garden of four streams” opened in 2005, the question of a garden reflecting European culture became increasingly important. At that time the Gardens of the World’s unique concept included four gardens whose designs are shaped by the religion of the different cultures they come from. There were gardens based on Taoist (China), Buddhist (Japan), Hindu (Bali) and Islamic (Oriental) design principles, traditions and origins, but European culture was not represented at the time. 

Grün Berlin GmbH’s partner of many years, the Allianz Umweltstiftung, promoted and supported the idea of creating a Christian Garden through several colloquia. It was also important that the Christian Garden would merge into the overall concept and together with the other gardens support a dialogue between cultures along the lines of a “round table”.

In November 2007 five competition entries were presented. A jury of experts voted unanimously for a design by relais landscape architects, based in Berlin.

The formative element of this square sunken garden is its gold-painted aluminium ambulatory, which is reminiscent of the “archetype” of a monastic cloister. Here it is translated into a modern symbolic language and designed with metal profiles in parallel to the direction of movement.

Between the horizontal lines are text passages from the Old and New Testaments and literary and philosophical texts. The texts speak of the relationship between humanity, nature and gardens as emblems of Western and Christian life.

The load-bearing texts from the Old and New Testaments, philosophy and culture invite visitors to linger and read them, and, when the sun shines in, they create a lively interplay of light and shade – one of the central themes of the garden and of European culture.

Visitors reach the garden, which is enclosed in four-metre high box hedges, up stairs and wheelchair-accessible ramps. The inner garden courtyard is formed around a pale gravel path in the form of a cross and four evergreen hedges broken up by white-flowering perennials and shrubs. An overflowing waterstone emphasises the garden’s centre.

Since it opened in 2011 the Christian Garden has been awarded a number of noteworthy accolades, including the European Design Award in Bronze from European Design Ltd., the Designer Prize in Bronze from Turandot Verlag Berlin, a commendation from the Federation of German Landscape Architects (Bund deutscher Landschaftsarchitekten) as part of the German Landscape Architect Prize (deutscher Landschaftsarchitektur Preis) awards, and Gold in the Space/Architecture category from the Deutscher Designer Club e.V.

Dates & Facts

Style Modern form of an ambulatory in a monastery garden
Size 1,000 square metres
Planning relais Landschaftsarchitekten (Berlin)
Opened 29th of April 2011
Prizes & Awards European Design Award in Bronze from the European Design Ltd., Designer Prize in Bronze from Turandot Verlag Berlin, a commendation from the Federation of German Landscape Architects (Bund deutscher Landschaftsarchitekten) as part of the German Landscape Architect Prize (deutscher Landschaftsarchitektur Preis) awards, and Gold in the Space/Architecture category from the Deutscher Designer Club e.V.