Forest and Architecture

May 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

In descriptions of the primeval forest, architectural terms are often used to describe these natural surroundings. According to Simon Schama, this is because there isn’t any way to describe the primeval forest in terms of its own. So, one turns to vocabulary pertaining to human culture. The forest could be described as a large room holding many pillars. Or, tall trees with bending trunks and bending branches, could be said to form entrance portals and vaulted ceilings. The architecture of the primeval forest is often an architecture in ruins… broken, knocked down columns, remnants of torn down buildings, wall fragments… splintered, shattered, decaying, overgrown.

As one travels further into the woods, the language used to describe the surroundings becomes more aggressive, more militaristic, Schama notes. Tree roots and tree stumps are fortifications and there are palisades formed by thorny shrubbery. Through the dense silence and darkness at the heart of the forest, the hammering of woodpeckers can be heard, like gunshots echoing between the trees.


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