Posts Tagged ‘Modern Folly’

The light shines out of me grotto jupiterartland june 2012

The Light Shines Out of Me, Amethyst grotto, Jupiterland, Scotland

The Light Shines Out of Me is a new grotto/art work, conceived by Scottish artist Anya Gallaccio for Robert and Nicky Wilson at Jupiterartland, their home near Edinburgh in Scotland. It was completed in June 2012.

Discussing the work, Gallacio told the Times newspaper:“I wanted to make a contemporary folly or grotto, a nod to the great 18th century tradition of British landscape gardening.  This is a sculpture but it is also part of a garden”.

The grotto was excavated 5m into the ground and consists of a 3m square chamber lined with Brazilian amethyst. It was assembled by two dry-stone- wallers. The amethyst cube is framed by a rectangle filled with 10 tons of obsidian glass, from Oregon and enclosed in a hornbeam hedge.

It took nine months and a large team to construct. By 2013 it will be covered with the ferns, which will have grown back so that the fencing will be almost invisible.


the light shines out of me closeup

All the best grottoes lure you in with an equal measure of awe and wonder and The Light Shines Out of Me, will be no different. Gallacio says : “I would like it to be unsettling- and people to question whether they should enter or not. Then when they come into the space, it is very formal, grandiose but also intimate, a quiet place for one or two people.

The healing properties of amethyst are also a reference to Robert Wilson’s family company, Nelson’s [homeopathic remedies]. The Jupiterland estate has many commissioned art works and sculptures and is open to the public in the summer months. www.jupiterland.org

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Sustrans samphire-tower jony westerby and pippa taylor Chalk Channel way brass telescope1

The Samphire Tower

Did you ever wonder what they did with all the spoil they dug out to create the Channel Tunnel? The answer is they used the 4.9millions cubic metres of chalk marl to create Samphire Hoe, in Kent, England’s newest landmass. The land is dominated by a new tower, Samphire Tower, a 33ft high oak and larch clad structure reflecting nautical architecture around the UK.

Inside a brass telescope is used to trigger sounds and compositions which evoke the history of the English Channel. (I’m never too sure about these sorts of sound effects, personally – I will report back again when I have visited the site).

The tower was designed by Jony Easterby and Pippa Taylor. You can read Jony’s account of his inspiration for the tower here:


Like the Lincolnshire towers (see October feature in the Folly Fancier)- this was commissioned by Sustrans, the National Cycle Network charity and forms a marker point on the Chalk and Channel Way

The Chalk and Channel Way is a walking and cycling route along the White Cliffs between Dover and Folkestone. It lies within the Dover-Folkestone Heritage Coast which in turn forms part of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There is an online leaflet about it at http://www.sustrans.org.uk/webfiles/leaflets/chalk%20and%20channel%20way_Kent_leaflet.pdf

For more information tel 01304 241806. The White Cliffs Countryside Project is always on the look out for volunteers.

Samphire Hoe: Careful landscaping and a brave ecological approach have created a place suitable for both people and wildlife.

Samphire Hoe is bound by a new mile-long sea wall, the landscape is based on the nearby natural undercliff called called the Folkestone Warren. Once landscaped the Hoe was sown with wild flower seeds collected from the nearby cliffs and chalk grasslands. From a starting point of 32 species there are now 164 different types of wild flowers and grasses growing at Samphire Hoe. Several of the colonisers are rarities, including the Early spider orchid. The Hoe has also proved to be attractive to butterflies and moths, dragonflies and birds.

Throughout the year the colours of the site change as Kidney vetch, then Restharrow or Rock sea lavender dominate. Even in winter the dramatic position and varied light conditions create an intricate endlessly changing scene.

Samphire Hoe is owned by Eurotunnel and managed in partnership with the White Cliffs Countryside Project. http://www.samphirehoe.com

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susstrans - fens300 - the boston pendulum

The Boston Pendulum

Two themes have converged of late in these pages – bikes and the flat Lincolnshire coast of England’s eastern seaboard.

Back in September I blogged about the Nonument – a bike shed in the seaside resort of Schrevenige, in Holland (this is the spelling on the architects’ website but a Dutch friend tells me it is wrong as it should be spelt Schreveningen)  that also acts as a piece of public art. (The shed is in fact a warden guarded bike park which is part monument, part eccentric fortification and part folly, referencing seaside architecture, fortifications, lighthouses and earthworks. On top is a small house that periodically catches fire.)

October’s beach huts were part of a public art project in Lincolnshire.

Now comes news of a pair of observation towers, the Boston Pendulum and the Lincoln Stump, in the grand tradition of follies, built again in Lincolnshire, this time to mark each end of a riverside cycling route. The towers have been built in Boston and Lincoln for Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, as part of the National Cycle Network.

Both buildings, constructed from steel faced in timber, are by Belgian architect Paul Robbrecht of Robbrecht and Daem but they look quite different at first sight.

The Boston Pendulum consists of two flights of stairs, off set against each other by a turn in the stairs, with the second flight cantilevered into space. From the top the viewer can see for miles across the flat Lincolnshire fens.

The Lincoln Stump is also two off set structures with a second storey shunted out into space to project beyond the first. The Stump faces Lincoln’s hilltop cathedral and unlike the Pendulum it is boarded up at the sides with painted cladding, to reflect the colours of local birds. Only upon reaching the top is the view available.

Paul Robbrecht who works with “a special respect for a site’s landscape and history” has placed some of the drawings he created for the project on line, you can find them at http://www.hi-views.org.uk/architect/index.html. You can find out more about Robbrecht and Daem and their other work at their website http:// www.robbrechtendaem.com

Note on Boston, Lincolnshire: Historically Boston was an important port for trade around northern Europe and in the 13th century became the leading port in England.

In 1545 it was granted a charter and became a borough. By the 17th century it became infamous as a centre of religious non-conformity.Boston later developed from being a trading centre to a production centre for crops. The fenlands surrounding Boston were drained and sea banks were built to enable crops to be cultivated.

Modern day Boston is a busy college town which also has markets on a Wednesday and Saturday. It also takes pride in its Party in the Park Festival, which takes place in July, and the Mayfair event which is the original street fair chartered from King Henry VIII days.

The most visible piece of architecture in Boston is St Botolph’s Church, the largest parish church in England. Better known as ‘Boston Stump’ the tower can be seen up to 20 miles away.

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