Whether it be to increase a personal sense of wellbeing — under the motto “a swim in a woodland pool grounds one” or to ﬁnd a lifeline in debates about the climate — “Green against the Heat”, everyone is talking about trees. In February 2021 we could experience at ﬁrst hand just how important ﬂourishing greenery is in cities, for instance: the cost of the damage caused by the “ﬂockdown”, when frost severely aﬀected heat-stressed city trees, amounted to millions (for the city of Zurich alone). At the
latest when the trees started to lose so many of their branches that schoolchildren had to remain at home, it dawned on even the most sceptical: we need to talk about trees.
In history trees have always enjoyed a special status. Under the spreading plane tree court sessions were once held or people danced for hours. Some huge examples led people to believe in cosmic powers — trees became the goals of pilgrimages. ere can be no doubt that a tree exudes strength. It symbolises the connection of humanity and nature, of heaven and earth and reﬂects the comings and goings in life; in its crown the passing of the seasons is visible. As a living thing the tree establishes a connection to nature, even in very urban surroundings.
A park and a tree-lined drive belong to a palace or large country house. But what about the trees that line our roads? Do we only notice their function when they are no longer there, when pipes and underground garages have cut them oﬀ from their basis? Ought we not once again think of the building together with the tree, the built environment together with the uplifting natural environment?
Despite how much we may appreciate the visible part of the tree, we often allow its invisible side to wither away. e trees in the CAD library are drawn without roots. is is as if, when building, we were to dispense with the foundations. e root area holds the key for understanding trees, it is where they communicate with each other. In the soil with all its microorganisms there is also a wealth of biodiversity, the disappearance of which is causing us concern. Microorganisms may not have the grace of songbirds, but we should keep in mind the depths of coexistence when we delight in the scent of lime trees or enjoy the coolness
in the shade of their crowns. — Tibor Joanelly, Roland Züger