“A folly is an architectural object that lacks a deliberate functional purpose which must instead examine its surroundings and allow them to bring it into existence.”
The philosophy of the Brick Bay Folly project is to support young and emerging architects and students to explore the intersections between architecture and sculpture.
A folly is an architectural object that lacks a deliberate functional purpose which must instead examine its surroundings and allow them to bring it into existence. This folly, named ‘Jonah’, is stranded alongside a lake and together with the broader seaside location of the site, the biblical story of Jonah evolved as the inspiration for the build, in which the prophet temporarily dwells inside a whale receiving shelter from turmoil.
Adhering to the traditions of a folly, although like a building, it provides no practical protection, only offering spatial definition. Visitors are invited to inhabit this semi-sheltered enclosure and perhaps imagine being inside the belly of a stranded whale. The large cantilevered arch or ‘nose’ trembles lightly in wind, implicating the condition of living creatures and the transience of flesh, while the colourful translucent mesh ‘skin’ offers an interface between the visitor and the surrounding landscape.
Experimenting with non-traditional materials for the project in using PE piping for the structural elements, the fabrication of this folly was an evolving journey of research and continual prototyping to celebrate lightweight construction where tension is predominant to achieve a unique and elegant aesthetic.
The colour scheme consists of two parts – the colourful pastel steel mesh ‘skin’ and the bone white structural pipe ‘skeleton’. The curation of these colours stems from the project concept, as well as the aesthetics of the vegetation, waterscapes and whimsical sculptures at Brick Bay Sculpture Trail.
The Resene White selected for topcoating the structural PE and PVC pipe ’skeleton’ expresses the bone-like appearance of the structural pipes.
The varying colours – Resene Extrovert (rich raspberry red), Resene Minnelli (velveteen pink), Resene Carissma (mid toned pink), Resene Half Sail (pale sky blue) and Resene Jade (blue green) – were selected for the translucent and almost apparitional steel mesh to express the ‘deep sea’ origins of the concept, the whimsical nature of a folly, and to blend in with the picturesque setting.
The steel mesh and PE (polyethylene) pipes were both tricky to paint.
The steel mesh had very small grids (4mm) and was prone to producing paint clots, with the whole space within a grid filling with paint. After experimenting with different Resene products and application techniques air-placement of the mesh while priming with Resene GP Metal Primer and topcoating with Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel using a combination of dry roller and dry brushing achieved the desired result.
The difficulty with the pipes was caused by the non-adhesive nature of the material as well as the constantly-bending form it needed to be in. Again experimentation proved valuable leading to a system of sanding with specific grades of sandpaper, flaming the pipes, priming with Resene ConcreteSeal 3 in 1 and finishing with Resene X-200.
This project won the Resene Total Colour Installation – Experiential – Product Award. The judges said: “The clever application of a palette of Resene paint colours to mesh brings a translucency to the paint that isn't usually seen. The colour shows off the skeletal form for an ethereal effect as the colours seamlessly flow into each other. The palette transcends the seasons and draws in visitors for closer inspection in all weather. Colour makes this project.”
Creator: Kim Huynh, Kevin Ding Kun, Norman Wei and Cynthia Yuan
Project mentors/guidance: Brian Breen, Brick Bay; Richard Harris, Jasmax; Chris Eng, Fletcher Construction; Yusef Patel, Unitec
Client: Brick Bay Sculpture Trail
Photographer: Sam Hartnett