Archive for January, 2011

OK so they’re not really follies. But there is something very endearing about those giant artificial creatures  which turn up from time to time to enhance our public spaces. And they are after all, quite useless. Here are a few I have come across, to make you smile.


Giant Creatures


This  big fish was on Donegal Quay, Belfast North Ireland.big fish donegall quay belfast aubrey dale geograph          


The largest mascot in Canada is Drumheller’s T-Rex. Four times the size of a real Tyrannosaurus Rex, it weighs 145,000 pounds, stands 86 feet tall and is 151 feet long.


dinosaur-mascot-drumheller vew platfrom in teeth


Iggy the giant iguana has had an interesting life.  In the 1980s he lived on the roof of the Lone Star cafe in New York. Here the 40 foot monster, newly spruced up, is being lowered into his new home on the roof of the reptile house at Forth Worth Zoo, Texas in 2010.




This 7.5 metre high mosaic sculpture, marks the entrance to the town of Erith in South East London, England.

The design was inspired by the old town coat of arms which was adopted from the family arms of the powerful Richard de Luci, supporter of King Stephen, and owner of Erith during the reign of Stephen and Henry II.

It has disconcerted some motorists who stop to gawp and has been run over at least once.


erith fish


Finally this giant puppy sculpted from flowers was located in Bilbao.

It was designed by Jeff Koons, the celebrated pop artist.



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tree house nz 2


The Yellow Treehouse Restaurant

by New Zealand based Pacific Environments Architects Ltd.

How could I have missed this? Yes it is a tree house, but what a tree house. One worthy of any folly builder’s aspirant dreams.

Resembling a huge chyrsalis grafted onto a 40 metre high redwood tree in forest just north of Auckland, New Zealand, the structure is built from plantation poplar slats with redwood balustrading milled at the site. It is flooded with natural light from overhead, high up in the tree tops. Access via a wooden walkway.

Inside a restaurant operated from December 2008 to February 2009 as part of a Yellow advertising campaign.At the conclusion of the campaign, ownership of the Treehouse passed to the landowner. They are now in the process of obtaining a resource consent to use the venue for private/corporate functions and events, rather than as a restaurant.

According to the official press release, when approached by Yellow Pages to design a treehouse, PEL jumped at the chance. “The tree-house concept is reminiscent of childhood dreams and playtime, fairy stories of enchantment and imagination,” say PEL. “It’s the treehouse we all dreamed of as children but could only do as an adult fantasy.”  The project is indeed magical, located on a rise near the edge of a wood overlooking a stream.

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The new Mogul style folly at Rushmore in Dorset, England 

Don’t know how this slipped through our net – but better late than never.  Here is the splendid new folly William Gronow Davis built on his 1700 acre Rushmore estate in Dorset, England  in 2009. The gardens of his Rushmore home are sited in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and parts it are Grade II listed. Even so the 65ft high structure was given planning permission. The reason was the the folly was originally planned to incorporate five mobile phone masts and to be funded by mobile telecoms company O2.  

When the company pulled out of the deal, Mr Gronow-Davis decided to go ahead with the folly, which by then had valid planning permission.

It is build in Indian Mogul style to reflect the fact Mr Gronow-Davis was born in India. It is built from concrete, rendered in lime and sections of the four pillars have been washed in red ochre lime. The base is made out of Turkish limestone and has the family’s crest coated on it along with the four points of the compass. It is surrounded by a ha ha (a sloping sided ditch.)  The five copper domes on the roof are capable of housing the phone aerials in the future.

Mr Gronow-Davis, a descendent of General Augustus Pitt Rivers, who inherited the estate in the 19th century, said: “It is unusual and looks so beautiful from my house. From my drawing room you look out onto the gardens along an avenue of trees and fountains and about a mile away is the folly. It is wonderful and just finishes the garden off.

“The telephone company was going to pay for it but that all fell through. By that time I decided I wanted the folly and so I paid for it. I would say that 99 per cent of the feedback I have had has been positive. Natural England has said it enhances the landscape.”

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