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Folly Architecture: Eccentric Buildings around the World
Follies as its name suggests, are buildings that seem without sense or practical use.
The follies appeared in the English gardens at the beginning of the eighteenth century and spread with the fashion of the landscaped gardens. Folly parks were built during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
The word comes from the Anglo-French word "folie" meaning foolish acts or ideas what looks like the right word to match with such structures since they are most of the times associated with the owner's craziness. Often people didn't need those buildings, they only dreamed about exquisite and different gardens, that no one else possessed.
Generally it's not correct to say they were useless taking in mind all follies build for such reasons as summer-houses, temples, ice-houses, tower hunts, gateways and other. The fact is they are unusual structures usually inside gardens.They have all sorts of forms and designs like grottos, castles, towers, fake ruins or bridges but they were all built as a result of outstanding ambition.Rich people, most of the times nouveau riches, frequently wished to become noticed by extravaganza. If neighbors had a nice garden they had to create a better one.
Ireland owns some of the most beautiful follies, build during famine times when cheap workers were countless but, as rich and excentric people ever existed we continue to find endless old and modern follies worldwide.
foolish monuments to greatness and great monuments to foolishness— Stuart Barton
Follies are commonly grouped into four main picturesque typologies:
Classical, inspired by the antique: temples, rotundas or colonnades with antiquities motifs.
Exotic, inspired by distant lands: pagodas, Chinese gates, pyramids.
Natural: dolmens, caves or artificial rocks.
Rural: thatched cottages, huts, and reproductions of vernacular architectures.
According to the importance of the parks, the four typologies cohabit or succeed each other in the course of a walk and the discovery of the garden.
Building a folly in Barnsdale, home of Robin Hood.
- Folly Fellowship Homepage
The Folly Fellowship was founded in 1988 as a pressure group to protect, preserve, and promote follies, grottoes & garden buildings.
- Ireland's Follies | The Saturday Evening Post
Touring the whimsical, intentionally pointless structures known as follies that dot the Irish landscape.
- De DonderbergGroep
The site is in Dutch but there is a huge photo gallery of worldwide follies.