Folly 2013: tree wood

A highlight of the winning team, who designed and built their Folly 2013 project over several months during a residency at Socrates Sculpture Park.

tree wood by Toshihiro Oki, Jen Wood and Jared Diganci

tree wood is a rigid yet airy geometrical wooden structure placed within a grove of trees – a lush and dense area at Socrates Sculpture Park. A formal, ornate chandelier is suspended inside the structure, which visitors peer into through the floor beams. The installation creates a dialogue between built structures and systems and the irregular and organic. In their project proposal, Oki and his team write of the relationship between the wooden structure and the trees:

Embodied in different forms, the same material will occupy the same spatial dimension. Each is enmeshed yet uninterrupted by the other.

One is the source and one is the end product.

This architectural folly is about the ideals of Nature and Man-made coexisting in our increasingly crowded world. This simple structure is composed entirely of 2×4 studs and nails bought from the local hardware stores. The trees fill the structure. A single chandelier will hang inside among the leaves and chime in the gentle winds.

Juror Granger Moorhead remarked on the design for the winning entry: “[The project] was exceptional in its simple, yet poetic approach to the concept of Folly. It takes everyday wood framing as it starting point, and elevates it to something special through careful detailing and a very direct juxtaposition with nature.”

tree wood, interior | photo: Elissa Goldstone

“The projects that were considered in the final rounds all shared one quality and that is they were all balancing ambition with the potential for realization,” said juror Billie Tsien. “It is difficult to have an impact in an outdoor site without clear visual bounds. [tree wood] presented a vision that would be realizable, light on the ground, but still magical in its creation of a mood and a place.

John Hatfield, another “Folly” juror and the executive director of Socrates Sculpture Park, commented that the park has always exhibited structures and sculptures that have “blurred lines and definitions, eliciting bewilderment, consternation, aesthetic pleasure and site-specific, physical engagement. Toshihiro Oki’s, tree wood, he explained, “performs this feat by interweaving our built environment with nature’s chaos, setting in motion a dialogue, argument and narrative about the organic and the domestic. The permeability of Oki’s tree wood installation is a magic trick of extraordinary elegance and simplicity that allows you to consider it as architecture and sculpture at the same time.”

tree wood opened at Socrates Sculpture Park on Sunday, May 12th, 2013. For more information about visiting, click here.

“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.


Folly 2013: Themes

Selections of project proposals best exemplifying some of the major themes arising from the Folly 2013 competition.


Folly 2013 Finalists

A closer look at the finalists for this year's competition: Pier, Elenchus, Curtain Spolia, and Guesthouse Belvédère 3.0.