Folly 2012: Curtain

Folly is a competition co-sponsored by the Architectural League and Socrates Sculpture Park which invites emerging architects and designers to propose contemporary interpretations of the architectural folly, traditionally a fanciful, small-scale building or pavilion sited in a garden or landscape to frame a view or serve as a conversation piece. Folly was established in 2011 by Socrates, in partnership with the League, to explore the intersections between architecture and sculpture and the increasing overlaps in references, materials, and building techniques between the two disciplines. Socrates Executive Director John Hatfield writes:

What is the difference between architecture and sculpture? Plumbing. This oft-cited aphorism, repeated by architects and artists, reveals an antagonism between purpose and value, our need to be comforted by categorization; and the strain of wrestling definitions out of art and architecture. If we were to apply the plumbing distinction seriously, what side of the line would Olafur Eliasson’s Waterfalls be on? What does the lack of a bathroom say about the Arc de Triomphe or the Serpentine Gallery’s pavilions? You can understand the academic compulsion to make distinctions between art and architecture, but the Folly commission for Socrates Sculpture Park and the Architectural League was initiated to straddle disciplines and definitions. What is the difference between an architectural folly and sculpture? Some, and not much.

Our goal from the outset in establishing this commission was to free architects from the usual constraints of practicality and architectural program to enable unexpected results and exploration. Through our Folly competition, the organizations were curious to know what might come from giving young architects an opportunity to manifest their preoccupations, theories, and unfettered desires.

The 2012 Folly winner is Curtain, designed by Jerome W. Haferd and K. Brandt Knapp. The project was selected by a jury that included: Alyson Baker, former Executive Director of Socrates Sculpture Park (2000–11) and current Executive Director of the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum; Yolande Daniels, Studio SUMO; Richard Gluckman, Gluckman Mayner Architects; Christopher Leong, Leong Leong Architecture; and Leo Villareal, artist. The program is directed by Elissa Goldstone, Exhibition Program Manager, Socrates Sculpture Park; and Gregory Wessner, Special Projects Director, The Architectural League of New York.

Curtain was on view at the sculpture park from July 14, 2012 through March 31, 2013.

Folly is directed jointly by Elissa Goldstone, Exhibition Program Manager, Socrates Sculpture Park, and Anne Rieselbach, Program Director, The Architectural League of New York.

Published: July 9, 2012.