“Folly” is a competition co-sponsored by the Architectural League and Socrates Sculpture Park that 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 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. Now in its second year, Folly attracted over 150 submissions in 2013.
Below, we highlight some of the overarching themes observed in the proposals during the jury review. To read more about Folly 2013, including a showcase of the winning proposal, which will be designed and built through a residency at Socrates over the coming months, and a look at four competition finalists, click here.
Throughout their review, the Folly jury identified some dominant themes in the application pool. “Wander,” “Assemble,” “Frame,” “Play,” and “Make” were chosen as terms flexible and generous enough to evoke these five organizing principles. A selection of entries best exemplifying the themes are represented here. Click on any of the images below to see a slideshow of project renderings. These groupings are not meant to be deterministic or reductive: rather, they attempt to identify and contextualize the dominant aspects of each submission.
Random and non-linear movement is encouraged through open forms, reflective surfaces, and shifting perspectives.
project: boardwalk | Christina Draghi & Andrew Kao
“Boardwalk was inspired by the architectural ruins we witnessed in the Rockaways, and all over the Eastern Seaboard, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Like the British and French Romantic follies of the 18th and 19th century, it is a sham, constructed in its ruined state, and reminds us of the tumultuous power of the natural world. It transforms an object that the visitor thinks he or she knows into something boundless, and encourages the visitor to repurpose the boardwalk…”
project: Field Folly | Leo Henke & Neda Mostafavi
“Instead of a single object-like structure, the field folly has a diffuse border that cannot be precisely delineated. In this respect the folly is like the landscape, its boundaries are soft…What appeared to be a diffuse and permeable system reveals the surprising ability to block the view of the park. This is not a binary in/out condition, but one that develops gradually through the viewer’s movement.”
project: Over the Line | Benjamin Cadena
“A meandering wall is bent and folded onto the site, and to allow for it to be traversed, multiple openings are cut along its length. It is a line that can be crossed; a porous wall that always remains open. Made of reflective corrugated metal, its surface offers a blurred reflection of its surroundings…”
project: Overthrowing bow | Matteo Baldessari & Tiziano Derme
“Our project…aims at breaking into a more customized experience, which directly originates from the user’s eye and will, while he/she moves into it…The structure has to be intended as a rhizome: there is no central focal point.”
project: Spaceroom | Benjamin Pollak
“Random: Same opening size but placed in a random order. Scaling: Openings become narrow. They scale down in the X direction. Curve: Openings move from bottom left to the right creating the illusion that the space is curving slightly. Left to Right: Openings move from L to R direction and remain at a constant size. Infinite Pivoting Mirror: Both ends have a pivoting mirror that reflects the sculpture park and creates a sense of infinity… Scaling: Openings shrink towards the middle room and increase their size on the opposite side.”
Drawing viewers into a concentrated core, these spaces generate opportunities for being together and collective reflection.
project: Strawpography | Ikyu Choe, Michael Chaveriat, & Myung Kweon Park
“From the outside, Strawpography appears to be an agro-monolith, but curious visitors will discover that it contains an unexpected interior landscape…The structure is built entirely out of standard straw bales from local farmland.”
project: Unfolly | Letícia Wouk Almino & Beom Jun Kim
“Elisa sat at the edge of the grassy stair, her legs dangling over the grassy wall, lost in thought as she gazed at the geometric shadow cast by the pit. ‘Perhaps I shall take a nap at the bottom there,’ Elisa said to herself.”
project: Warning Circle | Josep Muñoz i Pérez
“Amphitheatre is an iconic geometry: a large circular building without a roof and with many rows of seats. The geometry focuses the point of view in the center of the circle…the seats of [this] amphitheatre face the exterior because tradition surrounds us…we must pay attention…we must learn from it…”
New perspectives are revealed, juxtaposed, and augmented through re-contextualized sight lines. The activity and purpose of observation takes many different forms: from passive recreation, to curious evaluation, and social critique.
project: APERTURE | William Alfonso Arbizu & Clive Murphy
“Walls that are sucked in, windows that look into and beyond themselves and expose our intimate spaces of dwelling, rendering bare what usually protects us from the elements and from view….The housing bubble has burst, creating a spatial conundrum, perhaps this is a home where interior life…has been sucked out. It’s a fragment of a McMansion: evacuated, crushed and imploding…”
project: Floating Folly | Robert Alan Bianco, Jonathan Smith, & Jin Won Jung
“For our folly, a massive, ruin-like base is juxtaposed with a ghostly, floating object above. Although the separate objects allude to a lost home, when viewed as a whole, Floating Folly is fanciful and surreal…The ‘ruin’ will be built out of found materials sourced from families affected by Hurricane Sandy…The ‘ghost house’ is a series of printed facades on large-scale weatherproof signage material.”
project: [inside] out | Bill Simpson
“One is presented here with a mathematical, geometric volume, something that is simple and recognizable to the general public. Yet, it is also deceiving with the angled open window, framing the view to the other side at Manhattan…By focusing the viewer on the view of Manhattan we can contemplate in this quiet and dark space how great Man’s achievements can be; there are no taxis here, no rush of hot air from the subway, just the gentle breeze blowing through an open aperture affording a glimpse of perhaps the ultimate expression of a city.”
project: Smoke-Cage | Xing Xiong & Xiaoxuan Lu
“A classic house-shape structure with clearly defined boundaries is formed by sheet glass…At random intervals, the smoke either completely fills the volume to register the rigid boundary, or is completely vented out to conceal the space.”
project: The Castle Keep | William O’Brien Jr.
“The Castle Keep … is a kind of ‘architectural fiction’ – a proto-architectural contrivance of form (as in, not quite architecture, not quite sculpture) that enables experimentation with anachronous formalisms. The attributes associated with such seemingly archaic forms – thick, symmetrical, hierarchical, figural, ornamental – are novel once again in a context defined by forms born of early digital processes; those which are generally non-hierarchical, field-like, surfacial, and thin.”
project: The Decorative Hermit and a Machine for Drawing | David Connor & Mark Richards
“The floating building is a machine for living and for drawing. The hermit has a swiveling chair that slides on rails from the interior to a drawing position at the end of the platform. The chair is equipped with a Perspective Frame and a Claude Glass to aid the hermit’s drawing. The hermit is observer and is an observed…It is a habitation, observatory and studio that functions like a hide but which itself is being watched.”
A space for play, these follies provide an active landscape of feature that encourages engagement with a welcoming – or risky – public interaction.
project: Chat With a Cloud | Martin Safar & Hosung Kim
“Through the interaction with the cluster, a visitor can change the structure’s configuration and the space defined by it. A visitor may decide whether he will use it as seating or simply explore it as an object of art – a sculpture…Folly balances somewhere in between architecture and art.”
project: Warp-o-Whirl (WoW) | J. Arthur Liu & Kate Meagher
“Warp-o-Whirl (WoW) introduces interaction to the pictorial 18th century concept of the folly by referencing the playground…WoW combines three common playground elements – sandbox, merry-go-round and climbing nets.”
project: Folly:C | Douglas Gauthier
“Folly:C…is a fantastical structure, the built version of an adventure, with practical functions such as play and learning. The Folly is thoughtful in its use of material and energy, prompting an appreciation of the surrounding world and an empathy for preserving what we have, encourages self-discovery and sets an example of personal responsibility with lessons of positive economic, environmental and social standards.”
project: People | Paul Preissner
“People finds itself comfortable in this open ended world, since its cluttered arrangement produces new possibilities of social gathering…People is careless, and has fallen on its side in parts. People is dumb, and can’t quite embrace structure in the most diligent manner, resulting in lazy, inefficient bracings and misplaced beams. People is brutal, but not unfriendly, and while mostly rough and unfinished reveals a thoughtful and peculiar side to it through its painted chunk….Apart from providing pleasure through its relaxed attitude towards order, and its fakering of intention, People has no other point to make. You can climb on its framing. It still won’t do anything. There’s nothing there.”
These projects explore and subvert the tectonics and process of structure and making.
project: Brickscape | Dominique Cheng & Ryan Love
“…we are interested in exploring the tectonic potential of brick as a material – not from the standpoint of solidity and permanence, but from its opposite, that is, from the standpoint of transience and temporariness…by departing from conventional methods of stacking and bonding, we allow for the materiality of brick to be divorced from its usual status as a load-bearing, compressive element.”
project: (h)over | Andrea Desideri & Silvia Guzzini
“(h)over is a air floating folly investigating the boundary between tectonics and lightness…The proposal turns the structural rules so that the architectural volume doesn’t weigh on the ground and the forces forming the folly make it lifted up…”
project: kireji | Trattie Davies, Fred Tang, Jonathan Toews, Kyu Young Huh, & Amy Chang
“kireji is a structure requirement of Japanese haiku, a fragment used to suggest two independent but parallel thoughts. At the end of a line, the kireji can elevate or dignify an idea, or provide a rear-view perspective. In the middle of a line, the kireji can cut and reverse an idea, it can juxtapose or double-up. The kireji is a structure for pause, interpretation, opening up. It is a clue to what is not written. It is inside outside upside down.”
project: Elusive Form | Sky Milner & Sarah Kantrowitz
“We here propose an installation that fawns over the romantic ideal of an impossibly perfect cube in much the way historical follies recreated idealized abstractions of classical greek temples, egyptian obelisks, and medieval castles. At the outset we will build a few formal elements out of compressed earth bricks, tracing the steps of stairs, walls, and a plinth to imply the form of an 18-foot cube. These traces call upon visitors to complete the incomplete cube through perceptual extrapolation…Within our installation, the tension between form and formlessness becomes activated through the active participation of the user to complete the cube.”