A temporary installation tops a 13th-century roof with a modern terrace.

By Spencer Peterson
July 16, 2015
Credit: Wim Hanenberg

This summer, Japanese installation artist Taturo Atzu (also known as Tatzu Nishi) is inviting Amsterdam to an architectural domain usually left to the birds. The 802-year-old Oude Kerk church is wearing a stark-white viewing platform of Atzu’s design, providing visitors with a new angle on Amsterdam’s red-light district, along with some facetime with the roof-level artistry of the city’s oldest structure.

That, and a fake living room created by Atzu, built around the church’s angel-shaped weather vane, not unlike the pink-wallpapered affair he encased a statue of Christopher Colombus in, back in 2012, though this time the protruding element rises through a hole in a coffee table. Titled The Garden Which Is the Nearest to God, this latest of Atzu’s raised, faux-domestic interventions is particularly fitting at Oude Kerk, which is sometimes referred to as Huyskamer van Amsterdam, meaning “Amsterdam's living room.” Out on the platform, a 13th-century belfry rises through the center of a sunken seating area, where the hanging fireplace would be if Oude Kerk’s rooftop really was a retro-chic interior.

Credit: Wim Hanenberg

Beyond flattering its slate roof-tiles and wooden dormers, Atzu’s terrace will help facilitate at least one tangible benefit for Oude Kerk by the time it goes down September. The scaffolding holding it up will be kept around for a bit, so maintenance work can be done.

Credit: Wim Hanenberg