Mount Athos Monastery, Greece / P3a 2011

Mount Athos is a mountain and peninsula in Macedonia, Greece. A World Heritage Site, it is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within the sovereignty of the Hellenic Republic. The daily number of visitors entering Mount Athos is restricted and all are required to obtain a special entrance permit valid for a limited period. Only males are allowed entrance into Mount Athos. Only males over the age
of 18 who are members of the Eastern Orthodox Church are allowed to live on Athos, either as monks or as workers.

Spiritually, Mount Athos comes under the direct jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Today Greeks commonly refer to Mount Athos as the “Holy Mountain” Agion Oros/Hagion Oros). The peninsula, the easternmost “leg” of the larger Halkidiki peninsula, protrudes 50 kilometres into the Aegean Sea at a width of between 7 and 12 kilometres and covers an area of 335.637 square kilometres.

The actual Mount Athos has steep, densely forested slopes reaching up to 2,033 metres. The surrounding seas, especially at the end of the peninsula, can be dangerous. Though land-linked, Mount Athos is accessible only by a single boat, the St. Eshpigmenitis.

The subject of this studio was to design a botanical garden for the Holy Monastery Koutloumousiou on mount Athos;

A project instigated bij Rieks Bulthuis, Pilgrim of the Koutloumousiou monastery.

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.

What follows is a selection of ideas, sketches, and proposals from each group.


by Niek Heijboer, Matt Colby, Judith van der Poel


by Inge Vleemingh, Anna Sobiech, Gert-Jan Wisse


by Milda Jusaite, Joep Meijer, Katarina Tlachova


by Lissa Jeffrey and Donald Marskamp


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