Deux Folies

Earlier today I received an email from Lesétablissements Tourneux in regards to their Lieu-Dit le Temple, a wooden temple in the archeological part of Bliesbruck, France.

It's an appealing construction in the vein of the folly in the landscape.

It has a strong presence at night, and it begs to be climbed.

But it's a far cry from their Astronef, a rocket-like construction in the castle Malbrouck à Manderen.

But what at first glance looks like a goof and arbitrary piece meant to shock... very carefully placed, especially when seen from a distance:

And like the wooden folly, the rocket is a means of experiencing the landscape, in this case via a periscope.

It's hard to see each design coming from the same studio, but each folly is playful in its own way.


  1. I believe the Astronef is more so an homage to Patrick Geddes' Outlook Tower, a famed mid-19th century optic novelty. Geddes considered planning, organizing, architecture, etc. in terms of regional biomes. These "natural" (the modernist flaw of his work) landscapes inform the necessary material and formal organization of architecture, reaching beyond the ongoing dichotomy between classicist formal determinism and the arbitrary intervention of "artists" a la Ghery, towards a meaningful architecture, efficiently and ingeniously optimized through an organic, process-minded design informed by the given landscape. His tower utilized basic tools of reflection and projection, in the vein of the phantasmagoria both technologically and philosophically, that stitched together pictoral fragments of a broad landscape and translated these fragments into a broad whole, expanding the scope visual culture of a land-bound society. Perhaps this contemporary homage to Geddes' invention is a post-modern, formally playful rendition of such optical novelties and experiments, and highlighting their immense cultural significance throughout time, back to Galileo. Additionally, it speaks to Africa's current position within global economic finance. Its physical location and long-distance relationship with Chinese finance is a suggestion that the flow of commerce no longer abides the scope of human understanding and historical trends. Finance is immaterial, as an electron, though it is the material foundation of existence.


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