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What should this article be about?[edit]

I'd rather we had an article on architectural follies than this bizarre sanctimonious article -- Tarquin 23:34 Jan 4, 2003 (UTC)

I agree with myself! (surprise!) Any objections before I remove the non-encyclopedic stuff? -- Tarquin 13:56, 27 Aug 2003 (UTC)
And I agree with you. Do it. Vicki Rosenzweig 14:07, 27 Aug 2003 (UTC)
There's probably encyclopedic stuff that could be written on "folly" (Erasmus' Praise of Folly, etc.) but the stuff that's there now certainly isn't it... Wield the knife! -- Someone else 14:11, 27 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Does the Taj Mahal qualify as a folly? --Paul A 01:08, 24 Mar 2004 (UTC)

No. The Taj Mahal is an islamic mausoleum. Cuddlyable3 17:13, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
Well, it's a pretty fancy tomb; I'd have to say it, some Communist mausoleums, and the Pyramids may well have had elements of folly, but there may have been a religious aspect to those structures. I'd proceed a bit cautiously before considering a religious structure a folly, although these structures are often quite fanciful. — Rickyrab | Talk 02:08, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

I wanted to incorporate something about Seward's Folly here, but I can't figure out how to make it fit. Any thoughts? Voyager640 03:24, 8 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Does Portmeirion qualify as a folly? --Paul A 03:38, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Irish Follies[edit]

Most of the comments I have read are written by people who are capable of contributing to this site themselves... I am not, but have read a little about follies in Ireland, which were built by Irish workers during the time of the Great Famine in exchange for pay by the British Government. This was the British government's way of aiding the Irish victims of the famine without giving general social aid.

I've heard of roads that led nowhere, as well as a lighthouse built miles from the coast in Co. Meath. Apparently the British government didn't want to commission any work to be done that a British contractor could get paid for... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 04:42, 16 August 2005

Most of the follies and Famine projects were not government projects but rather private initiatives by landowners. The point about contractors is not generally germane.
An interesting background point is that there were "Famine follies" from earlier famines than the Great Famine. SeoR (talk) 12:33, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

Laissez faire[edit]

I'm not happy with the mention of laissez faire. The Famine (which began in 1845) helped bring on the free trade period, by providing moral impetus for the repeal (1846) of the protectionist Corn Laws. —Tamfang 18:09, 30 October 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Tamfang. The whole idea of an aid program is intrinsically socialist, and the idea of protecting industries through legislation is completely opposite of laissez faire. The reference also seems to be written from a non-neutral standpoint so I'm just going to remove the reference to LF AND socialism. Their mention doesn't help the understanding of the section anyways. --dmkrantz 19:34, 18 November, 2008 (CST)

Eiffel Tower?[edit]

Should the Eiffel Tower be listed here? Michael Hardy 23:37, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

No. The Eiffel Tower was an expression of engineering ambition, not an architectural doodle. Cuddlyable3 17:13, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
I disagree; it had no real purpose, other than to look impressive to other people, and that is why folks stuck it up in the first place. The Eiffel Tower constitutes a folly. — Rickyrab | Talk 01:57, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
Agree with Rickyrab. Eiffel Tower seems to fit the description. Purpose-built strictly as an ornament, eccentric in design or construction. Although since its purpose was to demonstrate Eiffel's architecture and construction technique, maybe that gives it a purpose other than ornamentation? A 300 meter tall iron viewing platform doesn't seem much like a "functional building."— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 15:27, February 20, 2014‎
I'm against the Eiffel Tower's inclusion, for it served no real practical purpose. Therefore, the Eiffel Tower can't accurately be described as a folly according to the article. User:ZachariahReed 22:31, 16 September 2007 (UTC)
ZachariaReed: You seem to have read the description backward. "it served no real practical purpose" is an important point as to why it shoud be included as a folly.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 15:27, February 20, 2014‎

Unless we have reliable sources that describe the Eiffel Tower as a "folly", including it in this article woulb be original research. - SummerPhD (talk) 17:24, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Las Vegas Hotels?[edit]

Would some of the hotels in Las Vegas (specifically the New York New York) qualify as follies in the architectural sense? The New York New York in particular is made to appear to be several separate buildings rather than one single structure. It seems akin to the imitations of Gothic castles described in this article. GeorgeJBendo 14:19, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

If "yes" to the above, then will you also include any of Disneyland's pseudo-historical structures? I think that buildings erected specifically for a modern commercial use (and liable to be replaced whenever that raison d'etre ceases) are too rational to be called follies. Cuddlyable3 17:13, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
I think some of the edifices of the Disney amusement parks qualify (not necessarily all: some are very useful as well as good-looking, such as the Grand Floridian Beach and Polynesian Resorts). The Castles and the Matterhorn appear to be mainly for showing off (although the Matterhorn also serves as a roller coaster, while the Castles have such things in them as restaurants and a prize suite). — Rickyrab | Talk 01:59, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
There are numerous parts of amusement and theme parks that are follies in their own right - architectural showoffs with little purpose other than to attract people and decorate the scene (or rides). — Rickyrab | Talk 02:05, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

Folly or ruin?[edit]

Just reading the article, I'm not entirely sure what the dividing line is between a folly and someone intentionally creating a ruin. e.g. Would the ruins at the Mackenzie King Estates count? A bit more elaboration would be helpful. Mucus 16:50, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Seward's Folly[edit]

Not a folly by definition placed in this article, but deserves mention in the "See also" section. Seward's Folly refers to the Alaska purchase. --Geopgeop 17:01, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

That isn't even the same meaning of the word 'folly'. DJ Clayworth (talk) 20:16, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

External links[edit]

The external link section did not appear to meet WP:EL. I have moved them here for community discussion on which if any do meet the criteria and should be returned. Active Banana (talk) 15:24, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

Potential external links[edit]

1) The Folly Fellowship- An organization which celebrates architectural follies
2) Follies in the English Landscape
3) Follies and Monuments - A comprehensive catalogue of Follies within the UK
4) Images of follies on Odd-stuff!
5) [1] - stylish blog of modern follies around the world

discussion about whether or not individual links listed above meet WP:EL[edit]

Leafy places[edit]

It seems unlikely that the alternative etymology can be correct, for a couple of reasons. For one thing, the Ordnance Survey wasn't even founded until 150 years after the OED's earliest cited instance of the architectural sense of "folly." For another, the OED lists a separate dialectical sense of "folly," with cites dating only to the late 19th century, defined as a cluster of fir-trees on a hilltop. Unless somebody can come up with a citable source for the "leafy" etymology, I suggest we delete that bit. (talk) 19:10, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Lawson Tower, Scituate, Massachusetts ??[edit]

Built originally as a water tower, should this be a folly ? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mezawadzki (talkcontribs) 13:30, 9 September 2011 (UTC)


What about bowers? Shouldn't they be mentioned? Chrisrus (talk) 20:49, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

Rename the article to Folly (architecture) for the purpose of disambiguation[edit]

I think the page Folly should redirect to Folly (disambiguation), to avoid any confusion. There are currently many pages that link here incorrectly, due to the multiple meanings of the word folly in the English language. I was surprised when I found that this article was about architecture, instead of being about folly in the more general sense of foolishness.

So which came first; the usage here or the synonym for foolishness. I would have assume the latter, not being particularly familiar with the architectural usage, but perhaps it was indeed the other way around. Wschart (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 15:04, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

Remove Lucy the Elephant[edit]

Per the definition above in the section What follies are not: "Fantasy and novelty buildings are essentially the converse of follies...The many American shops and water towers in the shapes of commonplace items, for example, are not properly follies." Lucy the Elephant is a novelty building, a shop in the shape of another object. It has been a functioning building for most of its 130 years of existence. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:09, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Remove Usen Castle[edit]

Per the section General properties: "They have no purpose other than as an ornament." "They are purpose-built. Follies are deliberately built as ornaments." "They were built or commissioned for pleasure." And per the section What follies are not: "Follies often look like real, usable buildings, but never are" "Many mansions and castles are quite eccentric, but being purpose-built to be used as residences, they are not properly follies." The article on Usen Castle clearly indicates that it violates all of these properties. It is, and always has been (since its construction in 1928), a functional building. It is not strictly ornamental, it was not build or commissioned for pleasure. It is simply a modern building with an unusual design. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:18, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Please link in the German-language article[edit]

There is a German-language article on "Folly (Gartenkunst)" - folly (garden art) that clearly shares the same semantic intent as this article: In my opinion it should be linked here. (talk) 19:31, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

Good point, I'm trying to do so (despite my uselessness at interwiki links) but am currently being prevented by some, er technical ishoo. Watch this space (but do not hold your breath). DBaK (talk) 20:05, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
Erm ... I have had a try. It hasn't shown up yet. If the Universe explodes later today, it is probably my fault. Sorry. DBaK (talk) 20:23, 9 May 2014 (UTC)