Architectures, Media Library, Plants, Practices, Spatial Orders

VIDEO: The Forest Cons: Sylvan Reflections within Architectural Imaginaries, by Dan Handel

Architect and curator Dan Handel explores the multifaceted ways in which forests are being conceived, experienced, and transfigured through human imagination, shedding light on how silvan epiphanies may find correspondence in spatial orders and architectural designs. The talk took place on December 13, 2021 as part of the 4A_Lab online seminar series.

4A_Lab, Dan Handel
Video preview: Michelangelo Frammartino, Alberi, 2013, film still. Courtesy of the artist.

In essence, forests are stored sunshine. But they are also repositories of cultures, myths, metaphors, and means of subsistence. As such, they shape the ways in which we consider time and space. Within the architectural imagination, the forest has a lingering presence: it is conceived as both the origin of architecture and the antidote to its malice. In cities, urbanists, landscape architects, and architects construct forest towers or plant urban forests to offset the harmful effects of civilization. Outside of urbanized areas, forests are described as holding the keys to the survival of the human species. In this presentation, Dan Handel traces the appearances and resonance of forests within the architectural professions and suggests that, by working with and tinkering its metaphors, we can change the way we experience and design our environment.

The talk “The Forest Cons: Sylvan Reflections within Architectural Imaginaries” took place on December 13, 2021 in the framework of the 4A_Lab online seminar series.

About the Speaker


Dan Handel is an architect and curator working on research-based exhibitions and publications with special attention to underexplored ideas, figures, and practices that shape contemporary built environments. He was the inaugural Young Curator at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in Montreal, has developed exhibitions for the Venice Biennale and Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam, and was curator of architecture and design at the Israel Museum. Most recently, he curated the exhibition "The Design of Carpets that Design Us" at the CCA. He is a founding editor of "Manifest – A Journal of the Americas," and is currently developing a manuscript on the uneasy kinship between forests and spatial design.