Gustafson Guthrie Nichol and Gustafson Porter were jointly commissioned by 2008's Out There Venice Biennale Director, Aaron Betsky, to create the architectural Biennale's first-ever landscape architecture installation. Towards Paradise was sited at the end of the Arsenale, within the overgrown grounds of the former Church of the Virgins, a Benedictine nunnery that was destroyed in the late 1800s. Towards Paradise presented a contemporary allegory in the broadest sense - taking the visitor on a journey through earthly dilemmas, evoking what has been lost and what can now be gained between man and the landscape. Telling a story of past, present, and future, the garden is composed of two main spaces linked by pathways cleared through the thick overgrowth and ruins of the abandoned garden. In ‘Nourishment’ one discovers a traditional food garden -- sustenance for body and soul. Deeper through bramble is the contrast of ‘Enlightenment,’ where unearthly "clouds" lift one's eyes above a decidedly sculpted, ergonomic landform for reflection and dreams of Paradise.