Eco Folly – Design

Our design research studio takes the folly as a typological springboard for coalescing formal creativity and sustainable imperatives. Whether at the scale of the structure, garden, or machine, the folly is a playful moniker in which the useless, the mad, the extreme, the theatrical, or the daring are made to intervene in both intimate and civic spaces. With sculptural and fantastical properties in mind, we use the folly opportunistically as a vehicle to foreground issues of materiality, micro-climate, and environmental response. For us, the folly offers a means to translate theory into practice; by leveraging its discursive status, diverse scale, and programmatic flexibility, we aim to create a space of design experimentation in which participants will explore the behavior of materials, understand the life-cycle of buildings, and evaluate sustainable consequences.

Environmental implications will ground our work: How might we imagine buildings to be more self-sufficient and self-sustaining through a deeper understanding of fundamental techniques without an over-reliance on digital technology? How might we re-wire networks of production, distribution, and consumption that are more tailored to environmental resources as well as regional and local conditions? How might we reconfigure the folly to focus on innovative techniques of ventilation, touch-the-earth-lightly, and optimization of land management, siting, and landscape? How can the concepts of pleasure and beauty be daringly connected to concepts of green architecture? How can the folly act as a precursor to the act of building itself, nesting responsive design parameters into design thinking?

Invited expert consultants will play a role in the studio and seminar through presentations, workshops, and discussions. The outcomes of the studio will take three forms: written, made, and measured, which taken together, will be the basis of an exhibit at House Zero. The studio and seminar are generously funded by the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities.

NB: Taught in conjunction with the seminar HIS-4480 in which studio participants are strongly encouraged to enroll.