Trees for the Forest
Trees for the Forest
Trees are vital to our built environment, as material and as form. They provide lumber, pulp, charcoal, and chemicals—inputs that drive the building industry. They cast shade, funnel the wind, whisper above our heads, flower and fruit, and change color with the seasons. We cut, fell, graft and carve their trunks; they take simple sunlight and water and grow into baobabs and mangroves and redwoods. As we plunge into a new decade, the threats to these organisms have never been greater. Wildfires blaze across California, agriculture uproots the Amazon, and disease threatens forests everywhere.
As systems and species, trees are now being called upon to perform a critical role as design tools. They sequester global carbon, carve out negative space in rigid urban grids, and mitigate the dramatic temperatures of asphalt heat islands. Trees are increasingly necessary to make cities more humane and resilient to climate change. Closer to home, in 2019 YSoA began accepting applications for a tenure-track appointment in landscape architecture, the 2020 Jim Vlock Building Project is being co-taught by a landscape architect for the first time, and more students than ever are enrolled in the joint YSoA-FES degree. A sea change is in the air.
Yet, trees are often an afterthought in architectural representation. Circles-with-crosses-marking-the-center dot the void spaces around our buildings, nondescript static infill that denotes some sort of concession to the natural world. How can we begin to think about trees in a way that reflects their variety, character, and the wonder of space formed by their branches? Our issue of Paprika! is dedicated to the tree. In this issue, we’ve asked our friends and fellow architects to explore trees through drawing. As designers, we’re sometimes asked to see the forest for the trees; this issue celebrates the trees for the forest.
- Miroslava Brooks, Stone Pine (Pinus pinea)
- Turner Brooks, Cherry (Prunus avium)
- Samuel David Bruce, Walking Palm (Socratea exorrhiza)
- Rebecca Comissaris, Pōhutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa)
- Trattie Davies, French Topiary (Buxus sempervirens)
- Bryan Fuermann, Maple (Acer rubrum)
- Miriam Peterson, Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides)
- Alec Purves, Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)
- Aniket Shahane, Sugar Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana)
- Jen Shin, Weeping Birch (Betula pendula)
- Beka Sturges, American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
- Jerome Tryon, The Cottonwood (Populus alba)
- In The Ground
- Rhea Schmid, Rainbow Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus deglupta)
- Maya Sorabjee, Banana Tree (Musa acuminata)
- Deborah Berke, The Dean’s List: Trees
Published on April 2, 2020
Volume V is printed with generous support from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts