Design Award Entries

Sensing the Forest

Sensing the Forest invites new interactions with a familiar landscape. Form, space, and material compose a novel experience, reimagining how a forest can be remembered. Seeing the forest in the reflection of the cladding, touching the forest in the grain of the wood, hearing the forest echo in the towering space. Engaging the senses forges new memories and new ways of connecting with the forest.

Project Statement

Sensing the Forest is a pilot project employing mass timber and structural strategies that will be incorporated into the Whipple Family Forest Education Center. The installation is
constructed from a series of nail-laminated timber columns, beams, and baffles. Elements on the exterior are protected with a mirror finish stainless steel rain screen, reflecting its surroundings to dematerialize the formal qualities of the installation. Interior elements are finished with regionally
sourced cypress that has been treated using the traditional Japanese method of shou-sugi ban (yakisugi), a natural process that protects the material from insects, rot, and elements. The charred space created inside ‘Sensing the Forest’ provides a focused experience for visitors
in contrast to the exterior that is similar to that of occupying a hollowed-out tree. The duality of material juxtapositions between interior to exterior is inspired by Lewis Carroll’s fictional character Alice Pleasance Liddell peering into and making her way “through the looking-glass.”