BEING TREE: Seminar Week

BEING TREE: Seminar Week
7. September 2020 Cara Turett

“The whole history of biological evolution is in the life of a tree.”

Francis Hallé, La Vie des Arbres


How can you read the intelligence of a tree? In this seminar, we will look at trees. We will begin to understand their logics—their architecture, morphology, and relationships to each other and their ecosystems. Guiding us in our exploration is Francis Hallé—a renowned botanist, creative illustrator, and lover of trees. Hallé developed a catalogue of twenty-two architectural models of trees, defining a foundational rule-based system by which trees can be understood. For architects and landscape architects, this is a critical development in expanding our potential of designing with trees.


Hallé will join us as we see the world of trees through the lens of the botanical garden, the urban condition, and the forests of Switzerland. We will see how environmental factors of climate, soil, and symbiosis influence the trajectory of a tree within its lifespan and in evolutionary time. In an overnight trip to the forest, we will visit field sites of cutting edge ecological research to understand new technologies of studying trees within an ecosystem, while translating that information into detailed and imaginative architectural drawings. We will cook and eat the fruits of the forest–spending time with the forest as members of its community. Throughout the week, trees will be our world.