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Danny Forster is an Emmy-award-winning producer, educator, and an internationally recognised architectural designer. His wide-ranging career is unified in his singular ability to teach people to find meaning in buildings, and in his passion for opening their eyes to the built world that surrounds them.


Danny was the on-screen host and then producer of the Discovery Channel’s award-winning series Build It Bigger. The show brought Danny to pioneering construction projects in more than fifty countries. At each site he would go to extreme lengths—two miles under a seismic zone in a Peruvian tunnel, landing in a chopper on the back of a top-secret Naval vessel, 1,600 feet in the air outside a twisting skyscraper—to make complex architectural content accessible to a wide audience.


Turning to the genre of long-form documentary, Danny created and directed Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero, an Emmy Award-winning six-episode series. With Steven Spielberg, his co-executive producer, Danny chronicled the vast effort to rebuild and reimagine lower Manhattan in the wake of 9/11, as well as the human stories behind that effort. As it movingly portrays of civic survival and rebirth, the film argues implicitly that understanding what we build is key to knowing our city and ourselves. He is now producing and directing several other projects for film and television, including a global travel and architecture series for Discovery International and a follow-up to Rising, which will air in 2015.


Danny also teaches sustainable design at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (his alma mater) and at the Syracuse University School of Architecture. He lectures internationally about architecture, engineering, and sustainability, and serves as architecture and engineering expert for Discovery Education, a world leader in children’s digital educational content.


He graduated from Wesleyan University with a B.A. in architectural history, and achieved a master’s degree in architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Earlier in his career, he was a stand-up comedian and real estate broker. An entrepreneur, Danny has founded two companies, Urban Filter in 2001, a web-based real estate start-up that helped recent graduates find apartments in major cities, which he has since sold on, and design firm DANNY FORSTER Design Studio in 2007, which finds sustainable and ingenious solutions to architectural puzzles. DFDS projects in include designing (with Peter Koon architects) a 35-story hotel on the southern edge of Ground Zero, a DFDS tower anchoring a massive downtown redevelopment in Nashville, Tennessee, a LEED Gold certified Michigan lake house, an office expansion for New York fashion designer Lela Rose, a redesign of the 9/11 Tribute Center, and a floating foyer for Curious Pictures.


In 2013, Forster spoke at the Global Minds conference in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on behalf of Russian bid to host the EXPO 2020. In 2014, Forster delivered a TED talk in Traverse City, Michigan, “Looking vs. Reading: Filmmaking Architecture” and spoke at the 34th annual Future of Education Technology Conference.

Danny Forster

Speaker Categories :

  • Cities & Environment

  • Innovation & Creativity

  • Emmy-award-winning producer, educator, and an internationally recognised architectural designer.

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