45: Into the Woods S/S 2018

Out of stock

To go “into the woods” is to enter both nightmare and wonderment, chaos and serenity. The woods are the threatening realm of wolves and witches, yet also a space of peace and introspection. They confound and illuminate, disorient and clarify, endanger and protect. The woods are where we “come to our senses,” and where we embrace our wilder selves. They are a space of complex life forms and ecological destruction; of growth and decay; of fantasy and ritual; of secrets and control; of hiding and
 the hidden.

The woods are often framed as a nonurban place; an entity separate from, and opposed to, the city—even the world; an eternal refuge that can smoothly be entered and exited, gone into and back out of. But how much of our woods still remains to go into—and on what terms?

As designers, we encounter the woods as building site, as obstacle, and as resource—territory to be cleared, but also to be preserved, cultivated, tamed, or simulated.

Wood itself—along with its products like lumber, wood pulp, silvichemicals, and charcoal—fuel the building industry and feed architecture. In a period of accelerated climate change, the planet’s woods are disappearing, burning up, threatening and threatened by human existence. How can we holistically address the woods and its ecosystems, and the life and life-giving power they contain?

This issue of Harvard Design Magazine treks into the woods to come to terms with its precarious status as habitat and resource, and to challenge assumptions about wood as material. We won’t be “out of the woods”—this looping conundrum—any time soon, even if the woods as we once knew it, and might still imagine it, has ceased to exist. At the intersection of wilderness, urbanization, and myth, “Into the Woods” embraces contradiction, challenges destruction, and revisits our roots, biological and architectural alike.

Table of Contents

Editors' Letter

In it.

Jennifer Sigler


A Cabin of Curiosity

Eelco Hooftman


Jack Halberstam

Burning Wood, Burning Woods

Stephen Pyne

Images and Thoughts under the Trees

Teresa Moller

Into the Local Woods

Lawrence Buell

The Clearing

Maria Thereza Alves

The Divine Forest

Giorgio Agamben

The Form of Life

Alessandro Bava

The Jungle’s Call

Dilip da Cunha

The Monsters in Our Fairy-Tale Forests and How They Got There

Maria Tatar

The Tragedy of Liberal Environmentalism

Jessica Dempsey

Whose Woods These Are I Think I Know

Tuomas Toivonen


Agonistic Ecologies

Daniel Ibañez

Detroit, a Forested History

Jonah Susskind

Gaming the Environment: On the Media Ecology of Public Studio

T. J. Demos

Inciting the Cold War: Berlin’s Street Trees as Firewood

Sonja Dümpelmann

Metabolizing Wood: Concrete Timber in Japan

Casey Mack

Plantation Landscapes: Palm Oil and an Ethics of Visibility

Milica Topalovic

The Art and Craft of Mass Timber

Brett Schneider

The Forest and the Cell: Notes on Mosej Ginzburg’s Green City


The Forest Community: Sovereign, Subject, Trees

Dan Handel

The Prefixes of Forestation

Rosetta S. Elkin


Dream-Work as Form-Work

Eduardo Kohn, Prathima Muniyappa, Rhea Shah

Letting Nature In

James Lapine, Mahfuz Sultan

Listening to Darkness

Janet Cardiff, Silvia Benedito

The Politics of the Rhizosphere

Anna Tsing, Rosetta S. Elkin

Photo Essay

The Site That Wasn’t There

Bas Princen, Giovanna Borasi


A Cut, a Move, a Forest

Fabrizio Gallanti

Distanced Authorship in the Anthropocene

Erle C. Ellis

Fallen and Felled

Robert Pogue Harrison

Fervor and a Forest from Mussolini’s Italy

Jana VanderGoot

Gaian Plumbing

Salmaan Craig

Nuclear Wood

Danielle Choi

Nurturing the Woods

Ken Tadashi Oshima

Robert Propst in the Woods

Phillip R. Denny

The Softest Power: Trees in Combat

Fionn Byrne


Elena Barthel

Woodland Kintsugi

Andrew Witt


Person Holding a Gun

Mary Pansanga, Tang Chang


Dome Life

Emily Waugh

Endangered Words: A Search

Katie Holten

Operational Landscapes of Forestry

Nikos Katsikis

Rereading: Daniil Kharms, “A Man Had Left His Home One Day”

Alexander Brodsky, Markus Lähteenmäki, Matvei Yankelevich

What Would Wood?

Sheila Kennedy


Trees, Vines, Palms, and Other Architectural Monuments

Paulo Tavares


Editor in Chief
Jennifer Sigler

Deputy Editor
Leah Whitman-Salkin

Production Manager
Meghan Ryan Sandberg

Creative Direction & Design
Jiminie Ha & Fahad Al–Hunaif
With Projects, Inc.

Editorial Board
Silvia Benedito, Edward Eigen, Rosetta S. Elkin, Eric Höweler, Kiel Moe, Charles Waldheim

Copy Editor
Frances Malcolm

Rebecca McNamara

Gina Ciancone, Elias Logan

AS Printon Trükikoda, Tallinn, Estonia