Brick Bay has an ever-changing landscape, most recently with the completion of the 2017 Folly, Te Takitaki. The winning team this year is of a group of four young architectural graduates, Tom Dobinson and George Grieve from Patterson Associates, and Sophie Edwards and Jayne Kersten from Jasmax. The team had previously studied together at Victoria University of Wellington. A folly is a building constructed primarily for decoration, but suggesting through its appearance some other purpose, or of such extravagant appearance that it transcends the range of garden ornaments usually associated with the class of buildings to which it belongs. In this context Te Takitaki is the third avant garde folly to be sited at Brick Bay. It’s located on a high vantage point guarding last year’s winning project, Daughter of the Swamp.
The architectural form consists of an organic, curved and fortified wall, which measures eight metres by ten metres. The height of the structure ranges from two and a half metres up to four metres at the highest point, as it is sited on a sloping hillside. It is constructed from orange-stained, rough-sawn timber which is threaded in and out of a row of reinforcing steel in a woven configuration. The interior of the folly is landscaped using native plants, a gravel entrance and pathway, juxtaposed with sculpturally formed, hard packed, natural clay mounds. The winning team imagined that the folly could take inspiration from a Māori palisade, a fence that assisted in the fortification of a key piece of land. While such fences had the practical task of defining inside and outside, they would often be comprised of sculpted objects. The folly was opened with a ceremonial blessing with Kaumatua from Ngati Manuhiri.
The philosophy of the project is to support young and emerging New Zealand architects who have recently graduated, and/or students in an accredited New Zealand architecture programme. They’re encouraged to explore the intersections between architecture and sculpture and experiment with increasing overlaps in references, concepts and techniques between the two disciplines. The winning entry received an overall $35,000 grant towards realising the proposed project. This project is the culmination of passionate, disciplined creatives and generous sponsors with clarity and vision. Big thanks to Resene, Fletchers, Brick Bay Sculpture Trust and Architecture New Zealand. We look forward to next year’s entries as the legacy of the past three winning follies will no doubt continue to inspire the next generation of forward-thinking, avant-garde New Zealand architects.