Inscribing four figures in the landscape, this series of pavilions creates a rich, mutable experience of reflection and light from a simple, functional, and robust kit of parts, able to be assembled in fifteen minutes.
Each pavilion is constructed of a series of curved aluminum walls composed from multiple overlapping curves, or sets. By figuring each pavilion’s plan, we figure the space within, functionally and spatially; we creating structural rigidity, allowing them to stand in wind and inclement weather; and we create a powerful phenomenological experience as each pavilion mirrors, compresses and expands its surroundings and the activity of passersby. As these profiles are aggregated, organized, and overlapped, they create a catalogue of spatial conditions accommodating a variety of programming, as well as being able to be seen and experienced in their own right.
The first of these functional follies has a single circular profile with a second hidden within; the second, two overlapping sets; the third, with three nestled rings one after the other, and the fourth, with four profiles overlapping to create a dynamic perimeter. Whereas the traditional architectural folly has engaged decoration or symbolism without overt function, this project instead, in keeping with the brief, intends to create a more functional language through similar methods of figuration in a natural context.
Conceived as a series of forms which can reflect each other not only in the literal sense but as sequential explorations on a theme, the follies can organize an architectural promenade in the rugged urban landscape of the park, shaping views and circulation paths around and through their volumes. In their repeated forms placed throughout the landscape, they are meant to be seen, and seen from, reflecting and reframing their surroundings, linked as their historical counterparts were to the experience of the sublime. As visitors newly encounter the park and their own reflections in these follies, we hope they inspire interest, contemplation, and, as the name folie suggests, delight.
Ease of assembly is built into the logic of design. Assembly begins by slotting together aluminum angles, or “shoes,” which trace each pavilion’s base. A turn of a pawl latch secures the constituent parts together. Holes punched in the base plate of the angle every 12” O.C. allow them to be staked as needed. The perimeter wall is then unrolled against the inside edge of the shoe, fixed every 12” O.C. Because rigid connections are necessary to resist wind load, the design uses pawl latches and slotted cuts, secured by a simple twist of the hand.
A second set of aluminum profiles mirroring the shoes below are placed as coping along the wall’s top edge and secured every 12” O.C. to lock the folly into shape. This coping is similarly segmented to allow for easy transport and slotted for quick assembly; it has a z-shaped cross section, which provides a drip edge for the wall beneath and a rim along the folly’s interior to accept the roof. Finally, roofing is unrolled and placed: an elliptical sheet of aluminum rests on a neoprene strip, creating a waterproof seal, resulting in a total assembly time of 15 minutes. Disassembly proceeds in reverse, with each element rolled or stacked for easy transport; the entire disassembled volume of the largest pavilion measures just 8’x4’x2’.
The exterior wall includes a series of 6’ high apertures, ranging from 4-7’ in width, allowing for market-type interactions. Their precise placement and size can be tuned prior to fabrication in discussions with Socrates staff. Door-size apertures allow visitors and staff to pass through the pavilion’s exterior wall and interior divisions where their figures overlap. Thinner openings and perforated sections in the exterior further illuminate the space within, animating views of interior and exterior alike. Where the exterior curves inward, interior volumes are created for storage or other functions. Here on the interior optional shelves, seating, or tables can also be fixed, providing additional functionality. The pavilions’ logic accommodates uneven ground conditions, with each shoe able to tilt, and the exterior wall able to flex. Supported by the z-profile of the rooftop coping, each elliptical roof element is fixed with a curving cross-section draining to the centerline pitched at two degrees, passing rainwater through a scupper in the perimeter wall.