Design competition sees Yorkshire pupil's work displayed at popular tourist attraction

Posted 27th April 2018


James Mate, director at Wildblood Macdonald, has been very busy recently in his role as Chair of the North Yorkshire Society of Architects in helping to organise and run a competition for primary school children from Yorkshire and the North East to design a new Folly for the grounds of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Fountains Abbey Studley Royal near Ripon.

11 year old Foster Carter, from Le Cateau Primary School, Catterick Garrison, won the North Yorkshire Society of Architects competition to design an interactive outdoor sculpture as part of Folly! 2018, the National Trust site’s contemporary art programme. Tuesday 24th April saw the press launch for the project where Foster was able to be introduced to his realised design saying "I really like it . . . my drawing has come to life."

Wildblood Macdonald Director James Mate said, "We are just so happy that he is happy. The reason we launched the workshops and competition was to give children the chance to understand what architects do, and encourage their creativity, resulting in the chance for one of them to act as a proper little architect and have their design built."

Following design workshops, run by local architects at 50 primary schools across Yorkshire and the North East and entered by over 1700 children, winning student Foster designed ‘the Cloud.’ The sculpture uses a 4.2 metre high wooden frame to hold up a ‘cloud’ of collected rain water, and is situated at Silver Pond, near the entrance to the World Heritage Site gardens of Studley Royal.

Now in its third year, Folly! encourages visitors to explore the water garden as it was originally intended; as a site of play and intrigue with dramatic views that criss-cross the landscape. The Georgian water garden is dotted with historic follies, fanciful structures designed to catch the eye, and for 2018, artists and architects have re-imagined the garden’s lost follies which have long-disappeared from the landscape.

Image courtesy of ART UK

Alongside Foster’s creation, internationally recognised architects and artists Charles Holland, Lucy + Jorge Orta and Fleafolly have created three large-scale new works which will surprise and entertain visitors of all ages to the World Heritage Site. The designs include an outlandish 9 metre tall tower, evocative of an exotic bird, a mirrored sphere which will reflect and frame the garden’s many viewpoints, and a curious echo-chamber water tower.

Project Officer Aimee Rawson said, “We loved the simplicity and playfulness of Foster’s design. The Cloud appeals to children and adults alike, and will look stunning in the landscape of the water garden. Folly! is all about having fun and adventure in the gardens, and we know our visitors will love exploring the space around the sculpture and ducking and diving through the rain as it is collected and falls!”

Being chosen as the winner of the Folly! design competition has meant a great deal to Foster and his family. Foster’s mum Evelyn Carter explained, “Foster was diagnosed as autistic when he was 7, so winning the design competition will be brilliant for his confidence. We’re over the moon and Foster is thrilled to bits to have won. It just shows that when you put your mind to something, you can achieve it. He’s taking the design process really seriously and looking forward to visiting the site for its installation.”

Foster said, “I was really surprised when my head teacher Mr Mottram told me I'd won the competition. I chose a raincloud because it was something different and something I really like. Winning has made me extremely happy!”

Foster Carter Folly18 WM

The design was realised by local fabricators Stage One who created Kew’s Hive and the Serpentine Gallery’s Pavilion amongst others. Tim Leigh, Marketing Director at Stage One said when the design had been chosen, “Foster’s design is thought provoking and elegant in equal measure. In the Sound of Music, Maria asks ‘How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?’ Foster shows us exactly how with his brilliant design. I’m looking forward to seeing it come to life in the Stage One workshops.”

Ruth Donnelly, North Yorkshire Society of Architects, said, “We were thrilled to be able to encourage children to engage creatively with their surroundings and to see their imaginations run free with the endless possibilities of what a folly could be.

We received such an amazing array of weird and wonderful ideas from all of the children who submitted their designs, that it was incredibly difficult to choose a winner. In the end it was the originality of Foster’s design that really stood out for us. We cannot wait to work with Stage One to see his drawing turned into reality!”

 Gazing Ball Folly, by Lucy + Jorge Orta The Bathing House Listening Tower, by Fleafolly Polly! by Charles Holland on Tent Hill

Folly! opens at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal on 28 April– 4 November 2018. More information can be found HERE

Press preview coverage for Folly! can be seen here:

The Yorkshire Post - 'Abstract art to become major visitor attraction at Yorkshire country estate'

The Northern Echo - 'Modern artworks pay homage to historic follies at Fountains Abbey'

The National Trust'Something Extraordinary This Way Comes...'

 Folly 2018 1400x787

North Yorkshire Society of Architects would like to extend a special thanks to the Folly! 2018 sponsors West Yorkshire Society of Architects, The Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation, Stage One, RIBA, JES Northern, as well as all of the architects who kindly gave their time to run workshops at their local primary schools. Without them, the project would not have had anywhere near the impact that it has had.