Posts Tagged ‘Tower’

shed folly 2

Shed-tower-folly by Jayne Tarasun, 2007

What better way to start 2008 than with a new folly design by a new folly builder, the self styled folly-smith, Jayne Tarasun of Cornwall? 

Artist Jayne has brought the concept of the folly tower into the 21st century, reviving this unique and celebrated slice of British eccentricity and fusing it with contemporary design principals and traditional, sustainable materials. Using cedar, oak, copper and glass, each structure is a tower of tranquillity, designed to engage the senses, enliven the spirit and offer a platform from which we can establish a reconnection between our landscape, our skyscape and ourselves.

Each folly follows a particular design, 5ft square by 10ft high, and has a mezzanine level where owners can sit and relax and read or just look out of the window into the branches of a neighbouring tree.

  • Materials include chestnut frame, cedar shingles, copper roof and laminated safety glass in French doors and windows
  • Design includes secure 5 lever locked front door, ladder to mezzanine-level platform. Fully lined and insulated
  • Planning permission not usually required

Design templates can be adapted to individual requirements. Price on application, includes initial site visit (to assess positioning), delivery and erection. A bespoke design service is also available for function and site specific space.

But what to call it – I suggest a she-tower – a combination of shed and tower -which also reflects the female identity of its designer.

About Jayne: After starting her career in furniture making, constructing bespoke commissions, Jayne Tarasun went on to study Fine Art at Cheltenham College of Art, where she specialized in printmaking. In 1995 she won the Gane Travel Scholarship, which allowed her to study in Barcelona. Jayne has exhibited extensively throughout the UK and she currently works from her studio in Cornwall.

In 2006, Jayne embarked on an MA course in design at UCF, where the seeds of her Folly business were starting to germinate. One year later she decided to focus her energy into `Folly-Smith’ designing, manufacturing and exhibiting her first prototype in Autumn 2007. This has been viewed by thousands of people and is on display at the Trevarno Gardens in Cornwall.

Jayne also designs bespoke, site specific follies tailored to her clients needs.

Contact details:

Jayne Tarasun, 2 Post Office Row, Gweek, Nr Helston, Cornwall TR12 6TU tel: 01326 221750 emailjayne@tarasun.co.uk


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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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Hurlstone large

Hurlestone Tower, Lilburn, Northumberland  

Several new folly towers were put up to commemorate the new Millennium in 2000. This tower, at Lilburn in Northumberland is again, not really a folly as it is designed as an observation point and a venue for conferences and meetings. (There are even, whisper it, kitchen units inside.)

Nevertheless it is very handsome and built in the style of a folly tower. It won a building industry Oscar from the Federation of Master builders when it was erected in 2000 for its owners Lilburn Estates (the owners) by builders David Appleby Builders from Rothbury in Northumberland .

Judges were impressed by the high quality of stonework around the arched windows and in the conference room.

“The attention to detail by the builder is clearly demonstrated by skirting boards and kitchen units which were cut to suit the curvature of the wall. The builder’s joinery skill is shown by the quality of the arched main front door. ”

Hurlstone andn folly of same name

The tower is aligned with the Hurlestone standing stone nearby after which it takes its name: the Hurlestone Tower.

Just in case you fancy one too, it cost £100,000 in 2000.


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Alster Tower Boldt Castle September 2007

Alster Tower, Boldt Castle, St Lawrence River, September 2007 

 OK so it isn’t strictly a modern folly but it is a nineteenth century one which, after over 70 years of dereliction, started to undergo a major restoration in 1977. And the transformation has been remarkable.

At the turn-of-the-century, George C. Boldt, millionaire proprietor of the world famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, set out to build a full size rhineland castle in Alexandria Bay, on picturesque Heart Island in the St Lawrence river in upstate New York near the Canadian border.  The grandiose structure was to be a display of his love for his wife, Louise.

Beginning in 1900, Boldt’s family shared four glorious summers on the island in the Alster Tower while 300 workers including stonemasons, carpenters, and artists fashioned the six story, 120 room castle, complete with tunnels, a powerhouse, Italian gardens, a drawbridge, and a dove cote. Not a single detail or expense was spared. Alster Tower has a shell shaped ceiling on the first floor.

In 1904, tragedy struck. Boldt telegraphed the island and commanded the workers to immediately “stop all construction.” Louise had died suddenly at the age of 45. A broken hearted Boldt could not imagine his dream castle without his beloved. Boldt never returned to the island, leaving behind the structure as a monument of his love.

For 73 years, the castle and various stone structures were left to the mercy of the wind, rain, ice, snow and vandals. When the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority acquired the property in 1977, it was decided that through the use of all net revenues from the castle operation it would be preserved for the enjoyment of future generations.

Since 1977, several million dollars have been applied to rehabilitating, restoring and improving the Heart Island structures. It can be reached and visited by boat from Alexandria Bay. In the summer the blue water sparkles and the castle and follies are enchanting to visit.

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The Nonument, Holland

 The Nonument, Holland

Folly Fanciers, I present the Nonument.

Strictly speaking, if your definition of a folly is a building with no particular function then this one does not qualify. On the other hand if it merely has to show folly in the designer or builder, then it does that in spades.

Commissioned by the City of The Hague as a surveillance hut for a bicycle park for the seaside resort of Schrevenige, the Nonument also acts as a piece of public art. The hut is contained in an object that is part monument, part strange fortification and part folly, deriving from seaside architecture, fortifications, lighthouses and earthworks. On top of the monument is a small house that periodically catches fire.

In January 2006 the project was featured on a series of postage stamps showcasing artworks by international artists in the Netherlands.

It was designed by the award-winning London practice FAT (Fashion Architecture Taste), run by Sean Griffiths, Charles Holland and Sam Jacob They have designed a number of interesting and eccentric buildings which seem particularly popular with the Dutch. Their web site is at http://www.fashionarchitecturetaste.com and has lots  more examples of quirky modern design.

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