Architectural Follies / Studio Erick Carcamo

Course Introduction:

In the Architectural Follies workshop, you will be designing a pavilion using the various computational design methods, morphological and geometrical strengthening techniques addressing building systems. 

The purpose of this assignment is to introduce you to alternative ways in which the articulation of digital geometry, digital materiality and human activities define a relationship between site, space, and program. This necessitates a logic between morphological, geometric and material characteristics of structure, program and environmental performance. The notion of performance will be understood as the integrated task of producing form and structure.

This class intends to engage design strategies that would allow for the further manipulation of the building enclosure by assuming a thicken poche, one that will add a solid sense to the building mass. As a way of moving away from thin, continuous surfaces, we will investigate techniques that deal with structure, mass, volume, material, color and animation.
Course Objectives:

The Architectural Follies is organized in two combined parts: tutorials and theory lectures. By mixing the highly specific realm of software tutorials and the more expansive cultural framework, students will be asked to articulate their design processes in both manners, by achieving a high expertise in the tools and by understanding the role of those tools within the culture of architecture at large.

In current times it is expected that contemporary architects have the highest degree of expertise in a large array of tools and technologies, there is no doubt that technology has revolutionized the way we design nowadays, but at the same time students must engage both technology and theory in a way that a coherent thinking goes through all design processes, instead of merely relaying on rule-based systems that only follow steps instead of ideas.

  • Objective 1: To investigate novel forms of tectonics by means of 3D computational design modeling.
  • Objective 2: To expand on the notion of color beyond the metaphoric or banal.
  • Objective 3: To develop advanced technical skills within contemporary software (Autodesk MAYA).
  • Objective 4: To understand the genealogy of an architectural problem.


What is folly:

The folly is an architectural form which grew out of well-manicured landscapes in 18th-century Europe. 

Typically, follies were created primarily as forms of decoration, and often served no functional purpose. A lot of their designs were purely sculptural, or even out of place within their context; their scale and proportions were arbitrary. Yet despite classicizing and orientalizing themes, despite attempts to make these structure appear to be from “other” places or “other” realities, traditional vegetated follies were symptomatic of the time and place in which they were made. Many of these structures evoked architecture of the past, while many suggested could suggest timeless origins. Some could also be designed to appear as though miraculously preserved, others were built as ruins.

Ironically, these idiosyncratic structures have become referents for contemporary follies. Yet the role of follies has transformed along with the philosophies held by those who create them.

In this Design Studio we will create a project taking on different approaches towards this folly legacy, with varying degrees of loyalty towards tradition. All will take inspiration from individual aesthetics within a garden or urban landscape, yet some projects may deny the possibility of a structure with purely a decorative role. Collectively, they will embrace the ability of architecture to create, so the discussions of beauty, grotesque, whimsy and parametric can be placed in a contemporary architectural setting.


Important Notes:

  • Title: Architectural Follies
  • Total sessions: 8 Sessions
  • Each session duration: 4 hours
  • Total duration: 32 hours
  • Software to use: Autodesk Maya
  • This studio workshop took place in March-April 2021 and all the sessions were recorded.
  • After your purchase, you will have access to the recordings and files of the workshop.



Erick Carcamo (SCI_Arc, GSAPP, Penn Design, Cal Poly LA Metro)

Principal and co-founder – As an educator and designer, Erick has been in pursuit of innovation and technology in the field of architectural thinking and teaching processes; his expertise, expanding his graduate thesis at GSAPP, is based on researching digital experimental techniques and strategic thinking for the manipulation of Form in design, which he uses these design abilities in the services of thoroughly generating spatial and organizational issues central to architecture. Born in El Salvador, Erick holds a master’s Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University, GSAPP and a bachelor’s Degree from The Southern California Institute of Architecture, SCI_Arc.


More about the course:

Watch our interview with Erick Carcamo of Allblackform to have more insights about what you will learn with this course: PA Talks 38 – Erick Carcamo


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