In just one short year the Folly competition, co-sponsored by the Architectural League of New York and Socrates Sculpture Park, has become vastly popular among members of the architecture and design community, receiving 40 percent more submissions than last year. This year a jury examined 150 innovative submissions but selected only one winning entry. The prize? The winner, with the help of a $5,000 grant, gets to see the proposed design come to life in the Socrates Sculpture Park. Toshiro Oki, Jen Wood, and Jared Diganci of Toshiro Oki Architects were selected as the winners of this year’s competition for their design called tree wood.
Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City first established the competition in 2012, asking emerging architects and designers to submit their ideas for a “folly,” a traditional architectural structure or pavilion, typically found in 18th and 19th century gardens. At first glance the folly may seem fanciful, it’s existence nonsensical, but careful observation reveals that the structure was intentionally built and precisely positioned to frame a particular view. This decorative installation not only embellishes an outdoor space, but also shrewdly allows the occupant to enter into a dialogue with his natural surroundings.
Toshiro Oki Architects’ contemporary interpretation of the traditional architectural folly consists of a simple geometric wooden-framed structure placed in the midst of a verdant thicket of trees. The minimalist man-made structure, made completely of wooden beams held together by 2×4 nails, will be built around the trees and flourishing branches occupying the site, therefore coexisting with, but never disturbing nature. The most enchanting design element of tree wood is the elaborate chandelier that will elegantly dangle from the center of the structure and exist in harmony with the leaves around it. Passersby may occasionally hear the serene musical chiming of the chandelier as the wind softly whistles through the trees, lending a very poetic nature to the folly.
In addition to a winner four finalists were selected as well: Pier by Keefe Butler, Elenchus by Julien Leyssene, Curtain Spolia by Georg Rafailidis & Stephanie Davidson, Guesthouse Belvédère by Marc Maurer and Nicole Maurer-Lemmens.