Socrates folly new york

Client: The Architectural League and Socrates Sculpture Park
Location: New York
Status: Notable entry 2015

The Enchanted Ruins are a reinterpretation of one of the oldest forms of follys, the romantic ruin. They seek to simultaneously provoke nostalgia for the past while at the same time offering a new spatial and multi-sensory experience to visitors of the Socrates Sculpture Park. The project reimagines elements commonly found in a ruin such as stonework, structural openings and erosion, using them as the basis for an Architectural language. 

Ruin Folly’s

The folly as a romantic ruin came into popularity in the 16th century, beginning as a replica of the ruined monastic villas found on the estates of many Italian Villas. These structures have links to Romanticism (defined as appealing to the imagination or feelings) and provoke a certain nostalgia for the past. The ruin folly became particularly popular in the English gardens of the 18th century again as a form of nostalgia for both Britain’s medieval past as well as the Architecture of both the Roman and Greek empires. The folly is considered a rework of history, a structure which is adapted for the present day rather than mere replication. 

NEON’s proposal for Folly 2015 seeks to reimagine the ruin folly, giving it new meaning in a world where people are exposed to new experiences and culture like never before due to the availability of cheap air travel and high speed internet. The design takes recognisable elements of the ruin and simplifies and abstracts them. The language of the Enchanted Ruin is one of erosion, structural openings and repeated elements. The materiality of the project has been simplified to draw focus to the movement and the overall form. 

Technical description  

The Enchanted Ruin is composed of 2 main elements, these are;

The outer frame – The outer frame is constructed from a number of sheets of laser cut plywood which will be glued together under compression. The frame will be finished in a gloss white paint and act as the structure to hold the kinetic “stonework” elements. The outer frame integrates openings and windows to allow access as well as views in and out of the structure.

The kinetic stonework - The kinetic stonework is a counterweighted element employed by NEON on various projects in the past. It is designed to produce a magical, naturalistic movement and evoke wonder in the viewers. It this project we propose that the components are constructed out of two thin sheets of flexible timber. We will create a jig and glue the sheets together which will cause the sheets to hold their position. The component will be weighted using a simple off the shelf nut and bolt. The components will be held in position using tensioned metal rope which will span between the outer frame. The components will be held in place using a metal crimp.