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Charles Holland designs folly for Fountains Abbey


A 9m-tall parrot-like tower designed by Charles Holland is among four follies, whose designs the AJ can reveal, planned for Fountains Abbey and its park, Studley Royal Water Garden, in North Yorkshire

Dubbed Polly, the colourful ’campaign-style’ tent by the former FAT co-founder will sit on Tent Hill at the heart of the World Heritage Site and will house a camera projecting views of the lake below on its interior.

Other schemes have been designed by Greenwich-based Flea Folly Architects, who have drawn up plans for a ‘curious echo-chamber and water tower’ and artists Lucy and Jorge Orta, who plan to build a reflective mirrored sphere.

The fourth proposal in the National Trust’s annual contemporary art programme Folly! has been devised by 11-year-old Foster Carter from Le Cateau Primary School, Catterick Garrison, near York who won a competition run in partnership with the North Yorkshire Society of Architects.

Carter’s scheme, The Raining Cloud close to the Silver Pond, features a 4.2m wooden frame holding up a ‘cloud’.

Now in its third year, Folly! aims to encourage visitors to explore the famous Georgian water garden as it was originally intended: ‘as a site of play and intrigue with dramatic views that criss-cross the landscape’. 

All the follies will be completed by 28 April.

Polly by Charles Holland as it will be seen from Surprise view

Polly by Charles Holland as it will be seen from Surprise view

Polly by Charles Holland as it will be seen from Surprise view



Readers' comments (4)

  • Congratulations to Foster Carter - best of the bunch.

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  • Phil Parker

    Polly Pavilion: not particulary rude or offensive, but misses 'witty' by a country mile.

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  • Thank you for the warning.

    This folly of a folly, combined with National Trust having become a political activist organization validates my tour group's decision to give Fountains a miss this coming springtime.

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  • For Les Brown: whatever you think of the National Trust, isn't this a poor reason for denying your tour group the benefit of seeing such a fine place - and being able to decide for themselves what they think of the four 'follies'?

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