How can you measure a holiday, berry-picking, ski trails, mushroom rounds, foraged food, a habitat, a sense of security, or fresh air? What is the forest’s value as a spatial resource?
Installation Woodscapes was exhibited at The Baltic Pavilion at the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2016.
More than half of Estonia is forested. In our over-civilized world, this is a value in and of itself. The importance of wooded space is illustrated by the exceptional lexicon we have to describe it. The Estonian language has many commonly-known words describing forests either by environment types, such as: alvar forests, mesotrophic forests; or by tree species: pine forest, birch wood, aspen wood, spruce wood etc; or classifications according to function: home forests, state forests, blueberry-picking forests, harvestable forests, protected forests and so on. Forests are at the core of this region’s identity.
Forests and timber hold an important economic significance in Estonia. Half of private homes here are still wood-heated. Wood is an easily-acquirable, renewable resource; it guarantees people’s economic independence; it doesn’t hinge upon politics, distances, or connection fees; and it is suited for any location—even places, to which central heating or natural gas lines do not extend. Wood is furthermore one of Estonia’s main export articles, and the lumber industry is a chief source of employment. At the same time, Estonia’s government is currently entrenched in a heated debate over how much of the country’s forest may be cut down annually.
The forest is Estonia’s greatest spatial potential. Resource—the forest—in calculable form: four steres, 1,600 kg, 780 logs, 6,976 kWh, three months of a warm hearth. But how can you measure a holiday, berry-picking, ski trails, mushroom rounds, foraged food, a habitat, a sense of security, or fresh air? What is the forest’s value as a spatial resource?
The Baltic Pavilion was curated by K?rlis Berzi?š, Jurga Daubarait?, Petras Išora, Ona Lozuraityt?, Nikl?vs Paegle, Dagnija Smilga, Johan Tali, Laila Zari?a, and Jonas Žukauskas. The Baltic Pavilion was at the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale May 28 – November 27 2016.
Photos by: Johan Tali, Ingel Vaikla, Laurian Ghinitoiu, David Grandorge