Tag Archives: architectural folly

Small town Folly, and other joys

By Bob Hicks

Down the street from my sister’s house, my home town is in the protracted process of acquiring a Folly.

A Folly in the making?Perhaps you’ve seen some on your travels to England: those little bursts of architectural whimsy sometimes found on the rolling estates of members of the minor nobility, cozy towering playhouses for the eccentrically and unaccountably rich. They serve no purpose other than the whim of their owner/designers — in a sense, they’re the original conceptual art — and they can be, when your mood and the play of light are right, delightful.

So far the Folly of Jam, Washington* seems more an astonishment than a delight. While it’s still possible that it may emerge splendidly, odds are against. For one thing, its scale seems wrong. One thinks of a Folly as a little visual surprise tucked into a larger landscape. The Jam Folly, rising like the tortured offspring of a test-tube experiment with an armadillo and a giraffe, dominates its surroundings. You might almost say it scares the bejabbers out of them.

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