Notable entries I: Material exploration and experimentation

Three notable Folly/Function 2016 entries experimented with unusual or traditional materials.

Pulp Urchin

Nearly 600 pounds of discarded and repurposed paper forms a seemingly dense, yet deceptively light canopy of repetitive, conical shaped masses above the user in Myka Works’ Pulp Urchin. This project investigates “the material paper that is generally considered highly-disposable with a short life from desk to trash bin,” and repurposes it “to take on, instead, an indeterminate life span and to expose latent characteristics of cellulose not often leveraged beyond sheet material goods.” In doing so, the resulting stalactite-like cones embolden viewers to rethink their own ways in which they contribute to waste.

The Birds and the Bees

The Birds and The Bees, a proposal by Harrison Atelier (a 2015 Folly notable entrant), uses a traditional material, cement, to create a rippled and perforated façade that acts as a co-habitable space for human and non-human users alike (the firm developed this form in partnership with Cornell Ornithology Lab). This eco-pavilion contains a rooftop rainwater catchment and a wall system, for which “one face is tiled in 2’x 2’ hand-cast cement panels, designed to accommodate both small local cavity-nesting birds… and cavity-dwelling solitary bees.”

Solid Primitive Hut

James Khamsi of FIRM a.d.’s proposal, the Solid Primitive Hut is “a reflection on architectural origins in the era of digital production,” and uses a Solid Primitive (a native shape in AutoCAD) constructed of PVC pipe as the modular building block for the structure. The repetitive modules create a visually dynamic experience—when viewed perpendicular to the form, one can see straight through the structure, and when viewed from angles, the building appears as a solid. Described in Khamsi’s words,  “the contemporary, almost generically so, plastic nature of the material has a playful friction with the primordial themes of the work.”


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. 


Worms, wimples, and wobbles

When is a chair not just a chair? A look at notable entries to the 2018 Folly/Function competition.

Article Folly/Function 2018