Barry Cox Spent 4 Years Building A Church Out Of Trees

barry cox tree church new zealand

As human beings one of the most amazing things we can do is to create, to construct new things that add to the world.

You know the feeling of completing a labour of love, whether it’s finishing renovating your home or putting up a birdhouse, a spot of DIY is good for the soul.

One man has really pushed the limits on just how amazing a work of DIY can be. He wanted to create something unforgettable. He succeeded.

In creating his labour of love, Barry Cox used resources from the most beautiful and majestic source known to man: mother nature.

With no architectural background but a ton of love and a willingness to learn as he went, Barry Cox built an absolute masterpiece: a church made out of trees.

Barry Cox was always fascinated by churches. In his childhood he dreamed of one day becoming pope. He became an altar boy at his hometown church in Shannon, Harrowhenua, New Zealand.

It was a love for the church that led him to travel the world exploring the landscape and churches of Europe and America, travelling on his motorbike. He’d study the churches in meticulous detail, looking at the angles, the porticoes, the proportions, the roofs…

Having fallen in love with church architecture he decided to build a church of his own, but he thought he’s add a twist. He decided to build it on a 1.2ha property in Cambridge, a town in the Waikato region, and to make the church out of trees. The location has a perfect combination of an ideal climate and rich soil, allowing him to grow the trees from which the church has been built.

This beautiful natural church is build from trees. Here you can see the church’s natural architecture in all its glory.

The church uses more than 4000 trees, which were planted on his dairy farm. He used his Treelocations business to relocate saplings onto the property.

The roof is built of cut-leaved Alder, the flexibility of which allows for the geometry of the roof. The “sparseness” of the Alder also leaves gaps which allows sunlight to enter into the church. The walls are built of Copper Sheen which is a sturdy wood that resembles stone. To keep the trees in shape Cox trims them ever six weeks.

The natural architecture continues inside the church.

Decorative rose vines interweave the branches. In October the roses enter bloom, bringing the church to life with beautiful colours. The entrance to the church is decorated with iron gates. The altar is made out of marble from Lade Como in Italy, and was taken from his family church in Shannon.

The entrance to the church is decorated with iron gates.

In January of this year the Tree Church opened to business. Cox’s nephew is looking forward to holding his and his fiancée’s wedding ceremony there.

There are churches in the U.K and Italy that also use branches to create their architecture. But they are nowhere near as intricate as Cox’s design. The beauty of the church has already made it popular with garden clubs, weddings, and gardeners.


Cox hopes to add a vegetable plot and flower patch. After that he’s got his heart set on building a natural amphitheatre in the summer.

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