Danny Forster has had a career trajectory from Harvard graduate studies in architecture to being the host of one of Discovery Channel’s (Discovery Inc) most popular series - "Build It Bigger" - and now to creating his own inspired buildings with his firm Danny Forster & Architecture. He is an architect, TV host, producer, director, engaging public speaker, professor working across ages groups from elementary school to higher education. Danny is a multi-hyphenate creative professional and has become a global advocate for architecture and how modular building can be a paradigm shift for the building industry and the well-being of our planet. In this episode Danny Forster talks with host David Kepron about his career trajectory, architecture around the world, and how even a modest change to modular building would be a paradigm shift for the planet.
About Danny Forster:
Architect. TV host. Producer. Director. Speaker. Professor. Danny Forster is all these things, and through them all he has become a global advocate for architecture. The field of architecture may not appear to need much help: buildings surround us. But that very ubiquity has made it almost invisible; we move in and around buildings but barely notice them. Through his persistent and passionate advocacy, Danny gets people to notice, understand, and value the built environment.
This quest began when Danny was hired, while still pursuing his master’s in architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, to host a television show about impressive feats of construction and engineering. The show would become Build It Bigger, one of Discovery Channel’s most popular series, and run for nine seasons, during which Danny traveled to more than fifty countries, exploring everything from record-breaking skyscrapers to cutting-edge sports stadiums, from airports to tunnels to impossibly long bridges. Besides offering a matchless education for an aspiring architect, Build It Bigger taught Danny how to talk about architecture so an audience wouldn’t just understand how and why a building was designed a certain way, it would care. The key was inviting them inside the process–not just saying what’s important, but showing them in concrete and engaging ways.
For inquiries regarding film and television work, please contact Danny’s agent at William Morris Endeavor, Jim Ornstein: JOrnstein@WMEentertainment.com.
For domestic speaking engagements, contact Julie Leventhal: JLeventhal@wmeentertainment.com.
For international speaking engagements, contact Hugo Chittenden at The London Speaker Bureau: email@example.com.
To purchase Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero, click here. To purchase episodes on iTunes, click here.
To watch selected episodes of Build It Bigger, click here. To purchase episodes on Amazon, click here. To purchase episodes on iTunes, click here.
Architecture is pretty complex and despite the fact that we spend most of our days inside buildings, I would hazard a guess that not many people know how great architecture actually comes into being.
After a number of years in university programs and then internships, architects follow years of practice. It said that architecture one of those professions that takes a long time to really begin to flourish.
The great American architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Guggenheim museum in New York late in his career and it opened six months before, Wright died at the age of 92.
With buildings all around us, some of which we pass by every day not paying them any concern, where do we go to find out what it really takes to make great buildings or why they should be particularly interesting in the first place?
Well, you could go to books, movies or even podcasts like this one. Or you might also tune into television shows whose purpose it is to bring some of the great buildings of the world into your living room.
By some way of unscripted serendipity, my guest on today's show did exactly that.
As a student in the Graduate School of architecture at Harvard University Danny Forster was exhausted and looking to, as he explains, “run away from architecture.” In a strange twist of fate, he landed a job as the host of one of Discovery Channel’s most successful shows.
Build It Bigger ran for nine seasons and became the highest rated show on the Science Channel, and won a 2010 Directors Guild of America Award. The show took Forster and a camera crew around the world to investigate pioneering architectural and engineering projects, and put them in cultural, historical, and environmental context.
Through his persistent and passionate advocacy, Danny gets people to notice, understand, and value the built environment.
Besides offering a great education for an aspiring architect, Build It Bigger taught Danny how to talk about architecture so an audience wouldn’t just understand how and why a building was designed a certain way, it would care.
Danny Forster ‘ran away from architecture’ to find he could bring architecture home to all of us.
Today he wants us to care as much as he does about buildings and the effect it is having on our planet.
Danny has put a spotlight on modular building and has partnered with MiTek Inc., a construction company owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, on something called the Modular Activation Platform, a system designed to clear away some of the obstacles to widespread modular construction.
Danny Forster is a multi-hyphenate creative spirit who believes that any modest progressive change to the building industry towards modular construction would be a paradigm shift for our planet.
About David Kepron:
LinkedIn Profile: linkedin.com/in/david-kepron-9a1582b
https://www.davidkepron.com (personal website)
Personal Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/davidkepron/
NXTLVL Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nxtlvl_experience_design/
David Kepron is a multifaceted creative professional with a deep curiosity to understand ‘why’, ‘what’s now’ and ‘what’s next’. He brings together his background as an architect, artist, educator, author, podcast host and builder to the making of meaningful and empathically-focused, community-centric customer connections at brand experience places around the globe.
David is a former VP - Global Design Strategies at Marriott International. While at Marriott, his focus was on the creation of compelling customer experiences within Marriott’s “Premium Distinctive” segment which included: Westin, Renaissance, Le Meridien, Autograph Collection, Tribute Portfolio, Design Hotels and Gaylord hotels.
In 2020 Kepron founded NXTLVL Experience Design, a strategy and design consultancy, where he combines his multidisciplinary approach to the creation of relevant brand engagements with his passion for social and cultural anthropology, neuroscience and emerging digital technologies.
As a frequently requested international speaker at corporate events and international conferences focusing on CX, digital transformation, retail, hospitality, emerging technology, David shares his expertise on subjects ranging from consumer behaviors and trends, brain science and buying behavior, store design and visual merchandising, hotel design and strategy as well as creativity and innovation. In his talks, David shares visionary ideas on how brand strategy, brain science and emerging technologies are changing guest expectations about relationships they want to have with brands and how companies can remain relevant in a digitally enabled marketplace.
David currently brings his creativity and insight on brand experiences to an international audience as a member of VMSD magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board, as a Board Member of the Interactive Customer Experience Association (ICXA) and Sign Research Foundation’s (SRF) Program Committee.
He has held teaching positions at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.), the Department of Architecture & Interior Design of Drexel University in Philadelphia, the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising (L.I.M.) in New York, the International Academy of Merchandising and Design in Montreal and he served as the Director of the Visual Merchandising Department at LaSalle International Fashion School (L.I.F.S.) in Singapore.
In 2014 Kepron published his first book titled: “Retail (r)Evolution: Why Creating Right-Brain Stores Will Shape the Future of Shopping in a Digitally Driven World” and he is currently working on his second book to be published soon. David also writes a popular blog called “Brain Food” which is published monthly on vmsd.com.