Posts tagged with "folly":

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Charles Holland lands a 30-foot-tall parrot building in U.K.’s Fountains Abbey

A one-eyed spy bird doesn't exactly sound like a child-friendly installation, but that's exactly what Polly is. Designed by British firm Charles Holland Architects (CHA) for the National Trust as part of  Folly! 2018, Polly is a colorful, parrot-like addition to the Studley Royal Water Gardens at Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire. To those outside the U.K., the idea of parrots and other exotic birds populating Britain’s parks may sound farcical. However, during the age of Empire, many foreign imports flew in (or rather, were shipped in) to landscape parks across the country to demonstrate Imperial prowess. "In a less cuddly way, it addresses the issues of power, territory and wealth that underpin them," said Charles Holland, founder of CHA, speaking to The Architect's Newspaper (AN).  Some birds, namely Parakeets, have become a pest since coming over, but Polly is no such nuisance. Standing 30 feet tall and dressed in rounded timber shingles, the steel-framed folly is topped with a camera obscura capable of rotating 360 degrees. This is operated by a wheel at ground level, and vistas of the park looking across the River Skell are projected down onto a white disc inside. The back of the folly has a cantilevered tail and a double rubber curtain forms the entrance while the rest of Polly's perimeter sports mirrored trim at the base. As much Polly is a device for seeing, with its singular lens a nod to the ancient Greek cyclops Polyphemus, Polly is also meant to be looked at. Resting at the apex of Tent Hill, Polly occupies a spot that many visitors to the park will visually encounter. Across the River Skell, which bends round and almost encircles Tent Hill, is a location known as The Surprise View. This spot dates back to the 18th Century when John Aislabie, creator of the Studley Royal Water Gardens, constructed a view of the ruinous Fountain Abbey. Frustrated by his inability to purchase the abbey, Aislabie instead decided to own a view of it. "[Polly] playfully interacts with the whole mechanics of viewing within the garden," Holland told AN. "I wanted to maintain that set of relationships." Move over Cistercian abbey, now Polly has center stage. Holland also explained how the folly drew from previous ephemeral structures that once inhabited the site, such as a tent which once hosted parties and which CHA's folly exhibits the angular forms of. Polly is also light on its feet, a requirement demanded due to the archaeological remains of a temple below, thus meaning the folly has a wide, shallow foundation. Furthermore, the architect also cited the 18th century painting Parrots and a Lizard in a Picturesque Garden by Jakab Bogdany, as well as a frieze featuring parrots in foliage, the latter found at William Burges’ St. Mary’s Church in the Studley Royal grounds. Polly will be installed at Fountains Abbey until November 4, 2018. There it is joined by The Gazing Ball from French artists Lucy and Jorge Orta, and The Cloud by Foster Carter, an 11-year-old schoolboy who won a competition for Folly! 2018.
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In “Nincompoopolis,” Boris Johnson’s architectural follies mask even bigger failures

For the U.K.’s latest passport design, a page is dedicated to British-Indian artist, Anish Kapoor. This is nothing untoward; Kapoor is a distinguished artist both nationally and on the world stage. On the page are three of his works: Marsyas, Temenos, and the Orbit, the latter of which was designed with the help of equally esteemed British engineer, Cecil Balmond.

At 377 feet, the Orbit is Britain’s tallest sculpture. A press release for its 2014 re-opening proudly proclaims that the ArcelorMittal Orbit—to call it its official name after Indian steel giant Lakshmi Mittal—“originated in 2009 when [former] London Mayor Boris Johnson launched a competition to design a sculpture for the Olympic Park.”

The term sculpture is perhaps too kind, since the Orbit looks like Kapoor and Balmond both sneezed while trying to wrest control of the mouse with Rhino running on the computer. Today, despite adding a slide, it costs the taxpayer $13,100 a week to keep running. The omnipresent Orbit looms over the London 2012 Olympic site in the London borough of Newham and now the work—an inescapable reminder of Johnson’s eagerness to create an icon—will follow Britons around the globe.

Though a picture is sometimes worth a thousand words, thankfully there is better documentation of Johnson’s foibles in the built environment. Critic Douglas Murphy’s Nincompoopolis: The Follies of Boris Johnson, does this superbly and goes beyond, relating it to Johnson’s ironic ineptitude on more serious issues with real-world ramifications, such as the Heygate Estate evictions in South London. In this instance, Johnson remarked that it was “vital we push forward with work to unlock the economic potential” of the area as he approved the replacement masterplan, seemingly oblivious of the implications. The estates were home to more than 3,000 people. 

The darker manifestation’s of Johnson’s mayoralty come later in the book, which is laid out in two parts: Johnson the architectural meddler comes first and Johnson the hapless, apathetic, and willfully ignorant politician, after. In this sense, Murphy’s depressingly long catalogue of Johnson’s errors posits the more obvious architectural blunders as a mask to his more inimical failings.

To make the grim reading digestible, Nincompoopolis is filled with personal touches from Murphy (all but two of the images used are the author's own) who found himself in London just as Johnson took the reins in 2008. His sophisticated anger is both fitting and relevant, delivered with a dry sense of humor, as he dismantles everything wrong with each project, from the process (or lack of it) to the final product. The reader is doused with lashings of context, followed by a predictable punchline: Johnson.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. The Garden Bridge, with a corrupt tendering process in which Johnson played a central role, was scrapped by incumbent Mayor Sadiq Kahn. A shopping mall version of the Crystal Palace was another near-miss, and orders have been stopped on the New Routemaster London bus. These failed follies can hardly be classed as wins, however, with millions of dollars of public money having already been squandered on them.

Perhaps a bright spot can be found in the socially-minded work of Peter Barber Architects, which Murphy duly mentions. Johnson is also credited for issuing new housing standards in the shape of the London Housing Design Guide which, bemusingly for him given his track record, called for less “iconic” architecture and beckoned in the “New London Vernacular.” However, as Murphy points out, much of this genuinely good work rides on the legacy of former mayor Ken Livingstone, who worked with Richard Rogers during his time as mayor. “In a city that has been undergoing so much housing struggle, no amount of tasteful brick detailing can mask the problems,” Murphy remarks.

The bearer of an American passport which reads “Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson,” London’s former Mayor will never have to suffer the full consequences of Brexit, in which he played a leading role. Nor will he have to look at the Orbit embarrassingly sprawled across a page of official national documentation.

Brexit, hopefully, was Johnson’s political swan-song. It made sense as well. The Routemaster and Crystal Palace fiascos were projects inspired by a misplaced public love of nostalgia, to which Johnson, seeing his chance as a so-called man of the people, rushed ham-handedly to cater to.

Inspiration also came from New York, where Johnson was born, but again, these ideas were executed in the wrong way. The High Line’s success spurred the Garden Bridge into almost becoming a reality, but ignored the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Johnson was determined to emulate the grandeur of antiquated world expos, but this somehow resulted in the Orbit and nearly led to a enormous glass mall, neither of which approached the legacy of 1964.

Nincompoopolis is a playful word, more endearing than insulting. However, Murphy does not shy away from showing that beneath Johnson’s boyish bravado and messy hair, depicted atop the Orbit on the book's coveris a more clueless and sinister character.

Nincompoopolis: The Follies of Boris Johnson Repeater Books $10.00

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Product> From Classic to Crazy: New Designs for Outdoor Seating

From quasi-camouflaged to head-turningly flamboyant, these designs for outdoor seating can enhance the character of a commercial plaza, a municipal complex, or an outdoor hospitality area. K Series Atelier Vierkant Set in a hardscape or landscape, these ceramic boulders provide visual interest—subtle or striking, depending on the context—as well as seating. Custom engraving is offered. Available in rounded and elongated profiles and several colorways. Comfony 600 Benkert Bänke A sinuous, contoured stainless steel frame is fitted with aluminum slats to create a minimalist lounger. Components are offered in a limited palette of colors and finishes. Palissade Collection Hay The slatted designed of this bench prevents water and debris from collecting on the seat. Part of a 13-piece collection of tables and seating, the powder-coated steel pieces are offered in three colors. Designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec. Stay Bench Landscape Forms Part of the 35 Collection, this curvaceous cantilevered bench comes in backless and backed models; skateboard-discouraging seat dividers are optional. Surface- or embedded- installations are offered. In 22 standard colors; custom finishes available. Designed by frog. Folly Magis Fabricated in rotational-molded polyethylene, this loopy geometric bench has a matte finish. Designed by Ron Arad. Orange Beast SIXINCH This exuberant lounge is made of recyclable, CNC-cut foam. It's coated with a substance that's flexible as well as weather-, water-, and UV-resistant. Measuring more than 13 feet long, it can seat a crowd in comfort. Designed by Pieter Jamart.
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This year’s Folly installation in New York City bends and twists spheres into an innovative plywood pavilion

The winning proposal for this year's Folly installation at New York City's Socrates Sculpture Park rethinks social interaction in public spaces with a sculptural installation resembling cross-sections of basketballs protruding from a horizontal plane. Torquing Spheres comprises sculpted, intertwined forms whose voluminous curves represent new feats in material techniques: bending plywood in a way that has been common in bending plastic panels. "By cutting out a fold line as well as a hole in the center of the panel, the material edges can be overlapped and mechanically fixed in place by simple bolts," the architects explained in their proposal. Best viewed from above for its juxtaposition of straight lines with complex spheres, the design riffs off the traditional geometry of domes, squinches, and pendentives to make standalone units. "The result is a doubly curving membrane but made by a simple construction technique that creates a monocoque shell that is self-supporting without a structural frame." Each half sphere is a pod resembling a futuristic, design-conscious take on the humdrum and far-from-plush park bench. The proposal is the brainchild of architects Mariana Ibañez and Simon Kim of IK Studio, a Cambridge and Philadelphia-based design and research practice that dabbles in material performance, adaptable tectonics, spatial interaction, and robotics within architecture and urbanism. Torquing Spheres won first place out of 126 submissions from around the world in the annual Folly program, a juried competition held in recognition of exceptional early-career architects and designers. The innovative proposal was selected by a five-person jury of big-name architects and artists, including David Benjamin (The Living), Leslie Gill (Architect), Sheila Kennedy (Kennedy & Violich Architecture), Alyson Shotz (Artist), and Socrates Sculpture Park Executive Director John Hatfield. Torquing Spheres is presented by the Architectural League of New York and Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, and will be unveiled at the park on May 17 from 3:00–6:00p.m.
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Toshiro Oki Architects Win 2013 Folly Competition at Socrates Sculpture Park

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 2x4 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.
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On View> Garden Folly Installation Opens at Socrates Sculpture Park

Folly Socrates Sculpture Park 3205 Vernon Boulevard Queens, NY Through October 21 Socrates Sculpture Park and the Architectural League of New York present the inaugural recipients of the park’s “Folly” grant and residency for emerging architects and designers to New Yorkers Jerome Haferd and K. Brandt Knapp. The residency was established to investigate the intersection of architectural and sculptural disciplines and the increasing overlap in references, materials, and techniques between the two. To this end, young architects and designers were asked to propose a contemporary interpretation of the folly, a structure whose purpose is purely decorative but architectural in form. Haferd and Knapp’s winning submission, Curtain (above), is composed of a series of slender wooden posts that define a space of 20 feet on each side and a triangulated roof canopy approximately 8 to 12 feet high. White chains, some suspended between posts and some left hanging, will suggest occupiable spaces within the structure and will sway with the breeze off the East River—a play on the modernist conception of the “curtain wall.”
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The Architectural League’s Folly

The word "folly" is derived from the French folie, or "foolishness." Also known as an "eyecatcher," a folly was traditionally an extravagant, non-functional building, which was meant to enhance the landscape. Rooted in Romantic ideals of the picturesque, a folly often acted as an ornate small-scale intervention which transformed and visually dramatized the landscape around it. The winners of this year's Folly Competition sponsored by The Architectural League of New York and Socrates Sculpture Park, competition winners Jerome Haferd and K. Brandt Knapp proposed a new interpretation of the folly, "Curtain."  Rather than being a whimsical, ornate structure which sits in the landscape, this folly, built from white plastic chain, is more like a small pavilion. The restraint shown by this structure echoes the idea of Shigeru Ban's "curtain" wall house, something which represents a new vision for a folly. Shown in the landscape as an object, the building is closer to Corbusier's Villa Savoye than to The Dunmore Pineapple or the follies of Parc de La Vilette. There is no formal exuberance, no faux-ruins, no absurdity, only a white pavilion-like structure. In an idiosyncratic interpretation of "folly", the architects have chosen spatial effects as the jumping off point for an object in a landscape. This project is by definition a folly, especially the version that has been used in the United States, which often includes garden pavilions and gazebos. This project alters our perception of the landscape via translucency. It mediates between visually obscuring background trees, operating in the middle ground as a spatial intervention, while simultaneously existing as a voluminous foreground object. It is a non functional building aligned with sculpture, or architectural installation. The white box with the faceted roof also reflects what is apparently the personal fancy of the architects, and thus "Curtain" cannot escape the definition of folly, while also "redefining" the term.