This week Awesome Stories brings you a living church, joyful connections, net-zero offices, empowering photography and a sewing service.
Barry Cox created a 100 seat church made from living trees. He carefully trained the trees to grow into the design he wanted for his outdoor church building. It looks wonderful and I would love to experience the feeling of being inside a living building. Good architecture invites a connection with nature, but actually creating your structure from living trees is a whole new level! For now, the church has iron framing, but as the trees mature and fill in the walls and roof, the iron will be removed leaving only trees! Originally, Barry built the church to be his personal retreat, but due to popularity has opened his Tree Church to the public. He added 3 acres of gardens to compliment the church for visitors and events.
This is a fun story about Peter Sharp and his journey to becoming a cheerleader for people to connect in public forums that he facilitates. One of his first events was on a commuter train in London. He stood up and announced he was going to dance and play music, while encouraging others to join. They joined, connected and had fun. The video went viral and sparked the beginning of Peter’s journey to help others connect. Now his organization, Liberators International, is organizing, recording and distributing fun events around the globe to remind people of our shared connections using play, kindness and often dance!
Net-Zero Office Leads Market
Net-zero homes are already leading edge, but the owner/ developers wanted to push the market by creating the first net-zero office building in Canada. The Mosaic Center in south Edmonton has met the targets so well that they are going for both LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge certification. This project is an impressive integration of energy efficiency, sustainability, aesthetics and affordability. With enough money, any building can be energy efficient, but to do it affordably is impressive. They owners built this center as part of their mission to inspire other builders and investors to create socially and environmentally responsible buildings.
Photography that Empowers
After 30 years developing his photography craft, Bob Sadler has found an inspiring niche. He is consciously using his photography to help homeless people see themselves in a better way. He has developed a way of looking for the best in the people that helps them both see and feel better about themselves. In fact, many of the people he photographed at his church have found jobs and places to live. So now, the word is spreading and more homeless people want to come have their photos taken by Bob. After reading this inspiring story called A Common Humanity, I’m wondering about trying similar photography.
Michael Swaine is an art teacher at a local community college who moonlights on the streets of San Francisco. For 5 years, he’s been moving around SF with his converted ice cream cart sewing clothes for residents. He calls the project Reap What You Sew and has now settled in a tougher neighborhood called the Tenderloin. His work in not only about mending clothes, but doing his part to engage conversation, community and maybe help stem the tide of our disposable culture.
I love the idea of using art to empower people and help create social change. Maybe our blogs help in some small way too! Blessings, Brad.