Forest Matrix. Towards Architecture for pluralism, diversity, minorities, alternatives

Sami Rintala, Massimiliano Spadoni


Architecture and constructing are the main tools that both the present and the bygone civilizations have used to tame and articulate Nature. Structures of living, production and movement have in a short period of time overlaid primeval and complex ecosystems everywhere on the planet. What is coming next and where are we heading? The biological and cultural background of Man is the forest, the matrix of Nature. Many of the words and concepts describing our contemporary society still have their root in the space and symbols of the forest. Living in a forest has left a trace, a tradition which is part of our common memory. The loss of this connection would be both a biological and a cultural catastrophe.Good architecture in the future should therefore be related more to gardening than to constructing: planting seeds first in the small scale of a home, then of the neighbourhood, and finally growing into the scale of a city. This new type of growth should be based more on a sort of labyrinthine clarity, on a space that is experienced and memorized rather than exposed, and thus full of meaning. Like a forest. As architects, we have entered into a deep and dark forest, a space without fixed points of reference, where we must learn how to survive and how to find our bearings. The current economic crisis is making us rethink our attitudes toward development and therefore toward architecture and design. A crisis that has got spatial consequences, reshaping our cities and our way of living, and thus also our way of approaching design. The role of the architect has been changing so fast over the past few years that the future of architecture must be reinvented. We need to find a clearing in the woods, a place where we can sit and enjoy our surroundings, the landscape, life.


forest the matrix of Nature; forest space; self-construction; architectural workshops; search of essential

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