Architectural Follies in America

Overview

Architectural Follies in America

More than mere curiosities, all of the architectural follies described in this illustrated guide are masterpieces in their own right. Each is the incarnation of its creator's singular passion, vanity, or idee fixe, from the home of the future to the storybook castle, the palace of love to the monument of spite, the house of devotion to the pleasure garden.

Architectural Follies in America offers readers an ...

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Overview

Architectural Follies in America

More than mere curiosities, all of the architectural follies described in this illustrated guide are masterpieces in their own right. Each is the incarnation of its creator's singular passion, vanity, or idee fixe, from the home of the future to the storybook castle, the palace of love to the monument of spite, the house of devotion to the pleasure garden.

Architectural Follies in America offers readers an unparalleled opportunity to become acquainted with some of the most outstanding examples of this class of architectural marvel. With Gwyn Headley as our guide, we travel the length and breadth of the United States—from the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Niles, Illinois, to a house made of glass bottles in Death Valley; from the floating Taj Mahal in Sausalito, to the grotto of Lourdes in Emmitsburg, Maryland. In a narrative rich with historical erudition, choice tidbits of gossip, and no small measure of sparkling wit, Headley describes more than 130 structures in loving detail. He tells the full story behind each folly, what is known about its creator, the circumstances surrounding its construction, and its prospects for the future.

"Follies stem from passion, obsession, and suspicion. They also come from happiness, grief, and confusion. They can take any form, any style. A folly is a state of mind, not an architectural style. Follies can even have a use or purpose, whether that was in the creator's mind or not." — Gwyn Headley

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
There is a friendly mood of excess in Headley's book. Gathering together 130 examples of odd, eccentric, and extreme buildings, he has crafted something like a scrapbook, memorializing the fanaticism of people driven to make strong personal statements through individualistic architecture. The application of found materials combined with construction by devoted amateur builders is common to these structures, the results of much time and an unwavering focus. President of The Folly Fellowship, an architectural heritage group, Headley serves up the familiar-e.g., Scotty's castle in Death Valley-and surprises like Elis Stenman's Paper House in Pigeon Cove, Massachusetts. Certainly each design was clear in the mind's eye of each builder, yet the results coalesce into a book full of much ugliness and unrestrained embellishment. While no building is treated as absurd, each seems bizarre, if only for the company it keeps in this book. Still, this work is recommended for larger architecture collections.-David Bryant, New Canaan P.L., Ct.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471143628
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/26/1996
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 222
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

GWYN HEADLEY is President of the Folly Fellowship in England, where he currently resides.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Ch. 1 Cloud-Capp'd Towers 6
Ch. 2 Pavilions of Splendor 39
Ch. 3 Gorgeous Palaces 60
Ch. 4 Scrap Shacks 95
Ch. 5 Miracle Houses (The American Dream) 113
Ch. 6 Parks and Gardens 126
Ch. 7 Solemn Temples 148
Ch. 8 The Great Globe Itself 154
Ch. 9 Eyecatchers 163
Ch. 10 Replicas, Copies, and the Seven Wonders of the World 174
Ch. 11 Billboard and Animal Architecture 190
Ch. 12 ... And the Rest 201
Gazetteer 209
Illustrations 221
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