Folly/Function 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. In 2016, Socrates sought a more functional iteration for Folly. Socrates Executive Director John Hatfield writes:
For several years Socrates Sculpture Park and The Architectural League have jointly offered the architectural community a design/build opportunity for a Folly at the park. This year, the fifth iteration, we decided to do the opposite and harness the expertise and creative capital of architects to address a compelling and much needed utilitarian project to improve the parks appearance and use of our outdoor education area. The inversion from Folly to Function coincides with the 30th year anniversary of the park and embodies our continuing efforts to realize inspiring projects through innovation, hard work and imagination. There is no function without thought to design. This inherent relationship is illuminated by Hou de Sousa’s Sticks project by exposing, amplifying and delightfully celebrating functional structure.
The 2016 Folly/Function winner is Sticks, designed by Nancy Hou and Josh de Sousa of Hou de Sousa. The project was selected from over 100 submissions by a jury of architects and artists that included Jarrod Beck, Artist and 2012 Emerging Artist Fellow; Stella Betts, LEVENBETTS; Lauren Crahan, Freecell Architecture; Giuseppe Lignano, LOT-EK; and John Hatfield, Executive Director of Socrates Sculpture Park.
Sticks is currently on view at the sculpture park. The below feature includes an introduction to the structure by Hou de Sousa; an essay by Pasqualina Azzarello, former Socrates Director of Public Programs; a roundtable discussion featuring the designers; and a look at this year’s other notable competition entries.