Folly 2012 FAQ

Folly FAQ

Folly 2012 winners Jerome W. Haferd and K. Brandt Knapp provided insights into the Folly competition process with Elissa Goldstone, Exhibition Program Manager at Socrates Sculpture Park, and Anne Rieselbach, Director of Programs at The Architectural League of New York. Please consult an interview with Jerome and Brandt for more information on their winning design, Curtain.

For more information on this year’s competition, including submission deadlines and requirements, click here.

For digital content related to the 2014 Folly competition, including the winning entry, SuralArk, click here.


How did you render and convey the project in your submission?
We introduced the project with our definition of a folly as it applies to architecture and sculpture.

Arguing for the expanded field of architecture today, we discussed Curtain as a narrative, a play between structure, frames, and boundaries of changing density. We are interested in how the structure’s overlaid grids create a ghost like-presence through the perceived softness of its simple yet strong materials. We articulated these interests in a clear design statement that explains the relationship between the folly’s structure and its effects.

We then produced a series of digital drawings that imagine Curtain in the park and as an abstraction. Both representation styles were in keeping with our conceptual interest in the experience and nature of the Folly. We also included images of our work completed in design school to highlight our past collaborations and individual projects that are relevant to our folly proposal and our familiarity with building.

How did you schedule and plan construction?
The project broke ground on Memorial Day Weekend and was completed on July 13, the day before Curtain’s opening. We mainly worked on the weekends and at night while at day we continued working at our jobs.

The project would not have been possible without the help of our friends, family and colleagues. We typically had between two and six people helping on site. We found that given the tools and oversight needed to complete a day’s work, it was not feasible to have more than six people working in carefully staged shifts.

We budgeted an extra week into our construction schedule to account for challenging weather conditions, the difficulties of digging onsite, and unforeseen interruptions or delays.

Wood, which provides the primary structure for our piece, is an amazing material and it was great to make use of the park’s utilities and tools. At the joints, the wood was carved for a slot in the center for the steel to pass through and paddle bits were used so that the bolts could be counter sunk. How the wooded posts were chopped and sculpted at their ends became our true design and construction problem. We were happy to have chosen a mendable material that allowed us to construct most of the folly onsite, adapting our strategies and working with the wood as we advanced.

How did you work on construction while maintaining day jobs?
Although we continued our work at our offices, we did take a few vacation days. Fortunately, our employers were supportive, and the schedules at our respective offices allowed for us to work most weekends. At some offices this is not the case.

How did you calculate your budget?
In our submissions, we outlined the amount and cost of the materials we needed. We used reclaimed wood to keep the costs low. In addition to the costs of fabrication and materials, food and transit were significant concerns to be budgeted into our proposal.

How did you stay on budget?
We communicated in person with our providers in order to establish friendly relationships, which ultimately secured us better deals. We appreciated the simplicity and nimbleness of our materials – mainly, wood and chain link – that limited the potential for unforeseen costs and eased the construction process.

We did outsource the cutting and welding of the steel plasma joints. At its core, the studwelding process involves fastening a stud to a metal sheet; the main processes by which this can be done are known as drawn arc stud welding, capacitor discharge stud welding, and short cycle stud welding. In an attempt to limit costly mistakes, we made a fabrication set and shop drawings of the joints for the welder, who unfortunately reversed or mirrored the parts. In order to fix this problem quickly and inexpensively, we used Socrates’ facilities to re-weld the joints. With a budget such as this, if there is any outsourcing such as we encountered, it would be a good idea to present a mock up and carefully oversee the making process.

We also created construction documents and computer models that helped us understand our project’s components communicate our needs clearly. We always had our computer and renderings on site.

What was the residence like?
There is a lot of hands-on work and we benefited from the suggestions of Socrates Sculpture Park’s crew, artists in residence, and visitors. Being able to play and experiment with full-scale mock-ups and the layout of the grid was an exciting learning experience.

Did you alter your design after winning the competition?
After winning the competition, we worked closely with Socrates Sculpture Park’s staff and site managers to understand the demands of our folly and possible issues with construction, materials, schedules and siting.



What are the expectations and limitations for the proposals?
We are interested in many types of follies and design practices, which can include prefabrication, entire fabrication on site, or a combination of the two. We will avoid projects that require constant maintenance (for example, daily watering and extensive plantings are not advised as the park has no irrigation) and include hazards like tight tunnels, deep holes and sharp materials placed at eye-level. Projects that are predicated on something evolving through the length of the installation can be challenging; the project must be self-sustaining in its environment.

How safe must the folly be? What liability do I have? Can the folly be an enclosed structure? 
The folly structure must be able to withstand the wear and tear of constant weather exposure and heavy public interaction. Socrates staff will work closely with the winning applicant to make any necessary structural modifications, suggestions, or additions.  For safety reasons, it is best to avoid any structure where the public can climb to unsafe heights. It is also best to avoid creating any hidden or enclosed spaces were the public may hide or be out of sight from the general public. Socrates staff will require design modifications to avoid any unsafe heights or spatial  conditions. 

How are building permits handled?
The staff of Socrates Sculpture Park will work with recipients to ensure that projects meet all necessary permitting and safety requirements.

Does the site change from year to year?
We allocate an area in the southeast corner of the park for the project. We recommend this location because of its proximity to the park’s entrance and storage facilities, where electrical outlets and construction equipment are located. To download a site plan indicating the location of Folly within the park, click here.

However, this siting is flexible, and Socrates Sculpture Park is open to work with proposals that reimagine the position and presence of the folly. It is important to keep the budget, construction schedule, topography and park’s concurrent programming in mind when proposing projects that move beyond this location.

What resources does Socrates provide?
At Socrates Sculpture Park, you will work with our site managers to fully understand the demands and challenges of your folly’s construction, maintenance and durability. We have many tools on site (such as jackhammers, a gas powered auger, and welding equipment) and access to electricity, and will advise designers through the installation process. Please click here to download a complete list of available equipment.

How far may I dig into the ground? How much may I alter the terrain?
The park’s ground is one of the toughest obstacles to construction. Socrates Sculpture Park is located on a coastal landfill; the soil is hard, dense and full of concrete, making digging foundations and trenches difficult.

Will I work with the other artists in residence?
The artists in residence are also installing and working on site during the construction period.

How many people can you have working on the site?
You may have as many helpers as desired.

Can you park near the site?
Yes, although you cannot drive vehicles into the park.

How late may I work onsite?
You may work as late into the night as you would like, but the architects must acquire their own lighting to facilitate working after sunset.

May the trees be part of the Folly’s structure?
Yes, as long as the trees are not damaged.

Is there additional funding?
Socrates Sculpture Park does not provide additional funding.



What support does The Architectural League provide?
The Architectural League oversees the juried competition. However, after the selection process, Socrates Sculpture Park takes over responsibility for working with the architects.

Will The Architectural League publicize the folly?
Yes, the League will publicize the project online and will compose a post-installation text, which may include an interview, with the possibility of a print and web release.

Can teams apply?
Yes. Teams may apply. Please note that regardless of the number of team members, there is only a single production grant of $5,000.

Can non-New York residents apply? Can non-US citizens apply?
The competition is open to all architects and designers. However, please note that there are no funds available for travel and accommodations. Recipients who are outside of the New York-metro area will be expected to provide their own travel and accommodations for the two-month residency.

Can I submit more than one proposal?
No. Individuals may only submit one proposal, either alone or as part of a team.

Click here to return to the Folly Call for Proposals.