Folly/Function is an annual juried competition engaging architects to design and build a project for public presentation at Socrates Sculpture Park.
Jointly directed by The Architectural League of New York and Socrates, the program addresses the intersection of architecture, sculpture, and public space. The program began in 2012 as Folly, inviting architects to propose and then build a capricious, non-utilitarian structure—architecture approaching sculpture. For five successful years the program presented inventive, whimsical, and dramatic projects before shifting emphasis towards architecture’s expertise and relaunching as Folly/Function.
The 2017 Folly/Function winner is Circle Shade – 2πR4 by Eva Jensen Design in collaboration with Laufs Engineering. The project was selected from over 100 submissions by a jury of architects and artists that included Tatiana Bilbao, Principal, Tatiana Bilbao ESTUDIO;
Eric Bunge, Principal, nARCHITECTS; John Hatfield, Executive Director, Socrates Sculpture Park; Mary Miss, Artist and Artistic Director, City as Living Laboratory; Craig Schwitter, Partner, BuroHappold Engineering; and Hayes Slade, Principal, Slade Architecture.
Socrates Executive Director John Hatfield writes:
Sometimes you have to stand back and look at what is happening. Our 2017 Folly/Function project came from observing how well the Park achieves its purpose as a public art venue, a highly programmed social space, and urban waterfront park. Last year, through our collaboration with The Architectural League of New York, Socrates Sculpture Park changed the focus of our design competition from Folly to Folly/Function and began identifying aspects of the Park that could benefit from the extraordinary talent of architects and designers by developing a design-build project that improves the aesthetic experience of the Park, acts as a resource for our community partners, and facilitates our programming.
The result in 2016 was Sticks, an outdoor pavilion designed by Hou de Sousa, for our arts education area. This enormously successful design-build project encouraged us to look elsewhere in the Park for opportunities for improvement. The 2017 Folly/Function project, Circle Shade – 2πR4 by Eva Jensen Design, has proven equally successful, by replacing nondescript tents used frequently in the landscape with remarkably designed and exquisite shading structures.
The challenge of the 2017 Folly/Function competition, spectacularly achieved by Eva Jensen and her team, was to design a shade structure that is portable, easily assembled, and provides an elegant object that amplifies Socrates’ three pillars of purpose as a public art venue, social space, and park.
Folly/Function is directed jointly by Jessica Wilcox, Director of Exhibitions, Socrates Sculpture Park, and Anne Rieselbach, Program Director, The Architectural League of New York.