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CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Folly/Function 2018
A design/build competition organized by The Architectural League and Socrates.

Submission Deadline
Monday, January 8, 2018 | 11:59 p.m. EST

Allan Wexler, Artist
Chee Pearlman, Curator, Arts and Design, TED Conferences
Claire Weisz, Principal, WXY
Elaine Molinar, Partner, Snøhetta
John Hatfield, Executive Director, Socrates Sculpture Park
Leon Ransmeier, Designer, Ransmeier, Inc.

Click here to read about Frequently Asked Questions about this year’s Folly/Function competition and explore features on the 2012201320142015, and 2016 Folly program. An information session on the Folly 2018 competition will also be held on November 28th; click here to read about this upcoming event.

Download a competition PDF

Call for Proposals
Socrates Sculpture Park and The Architectural League invite emerging designers and architects to help shape the physical setting in which the Park fulfills its role as a venue for art, creative expression, public programming, and education.

Socrates Sculpture Park, located in Long Island City, Queens, is one of the most distinct cultural organizations in the country with its combination of waterfront setting, accessibility, and community-based programming. As a venue for the presentation of public art, a New York City park, and an active social space, Socrates harnesses the power of creative minds to transform the urban landscape.

In earlier years the design-build competition investigated the intersection between sculpture and architecture with temporary structures that intentionally served no utilitarian purpose. More recently the competition has shifted emphasis, asking entrants to fuse form with utility by proposing designs that explore the intersection of art and architecture while also addressing and improving the conditions of the Park. Continuing this trend, the 2018 competition asks architects and designers to design and fabricate public seating for the Park; specifically, this call is for movable single or double outdoor seating for at least 25 people.

The seating should be easily movable by park visitors and staff, but solid enough that visitors are discouraged from removing it from the Park. To allow for efficient storage, entrants should consider structures that can be disassembled seasonally. The seating should also have a unique and cohesive identity that distinguishes it from the surrounding art installations or typical Parks Department designs. The outdoor seats should last at least three seasons (2018-2020) and should be weather-resistant. These criteria, in addition to a realistic project budget, will be strictly applied when reviewing submissions. A submission will not be selected if this project, in the judgment of the jury, does not convincingly demonstrate this capability.

The project is not confined to a single site within the Park. Instead, entrants should design movable structures adaptable for multiple locations, which will include areas adjacent to the Park entrance, to its education area, and throughout the landscape. Please consider the uneven terrain of the Park.

– To review images of past artist-produced seating in use in the Park, look through the archive of artist projects here.
– To download a site plan, click here.

Before developing their submissions, applicants are encouraged to visit Socrates, a unique waterfront park located in an industrial area of Long Island City, Queens, and to explore our website to learn about the history and context of the Folly program. A competitive proposal will address the site’s rugged, urban outdoor environment. Please be aware that the winning proposal is subject to final approval by Socrates and League staff, and must meet safety and technical requirements to be able to withstand the effects of weather and public use.

Award and Installation
One project will be chosen. The recipient will receive a total $6,000 production grant to realize the proposed project for single or double outdoor seating that accommodates at least 25 people. All aspects, including design, materials, delivery, labor, and initial installation of the seating structures must be within the $6,000 budget included in your submission. Socrates Sculpture Park has facilities and equipment that can be utilized in the fabrication, assembly, and installation of the project and the recipient will have full access to these resources during a two-month period at the Park, beginning in March 2018. The initial public use of the structures will be in June 2018. The project will be documented with a digital feature on

To download a complete list of available equipment, click here.

Read past Folly publications for the 201320142015, and 2016 competitions.

Emerging architects and designers are invited to apply. Applications will be accepted from individuals and firms; entrants need not be licensed. Architects and designers outside of New York City are eligible to apply, but housing and transportation are not provided as part of the award. If selected, non-residents will have to make their own living and travel arrangements. Students are not eligible to apply.

Please note that this is a hands-on opportunity and the winner will be responsible for the design and production of the seating structures. Fabrication can take place in either the Park’s outdoor studio facilities or off-site, or both.

Submission Requirements and Process
The Folly selection process is competitive. A jury of architects, artists, and art professionals will select a single project to be realized within the grounds of Socrates Sculpture Park. Applicants are asked to submit two PDF files in addition to completing an online form: one file is the Project Proposal and the second file is the Project Preview Slides. Proposals must include the following components, which must be formatted as instructed below and submitted via this Formstack form no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday, January 8, 2018.


Must be presented on no more than 25 pages. Please submit as one PDF file:

    Include a cover sheet with name, mailing address, telephone number, email, project title, and a single paragraph of not more than 150 words summarizing your proposed project. Please indicate on your cover sheet whether you previously submitted a proposal for Folly. If you are applying as a team, please include the names and emails for each team member and identify one team member as the Lead Contact.
    Submit a project proposal of up to 1,000 words that clearly describes the project and its relationship to the Park and the Folly/Function competition AND offers a description of how the project fits within the financial parameters. A preliminary budget should be included that identifies expenses and demonstrates feasibility within the $6,000 production grant, which should cover the total cost for labor, materials, fabrication, and installation.Applicants are strongly encouraged to include renderings and sketches of the proposed project.
    The resume/CV should include information about your education; work and teaching experience; exhibition history; awards, grants, and residencies; and other relevant information. Provide the names, affiliations, email addresses, and telephone numbers of two people who are familiar with your work.
    Up to seven (7) digital images of recent work. (These images are in addition to any renderings/sketches submitted as part of the project proposal.) Recent works may be built or proposed in any medium. Please note that the jury is particularly interested in past design-build projects and previous experience will be a determining factor. An image script with a numbered list that corresponds to the submitted images should also be included. For each image, include the title, date, and a brief description of the work.


Must be presented on two slides only. Please submit as one PDF file:

    Same coversheet as above.
    Select up to two key images of your proposal and submit on one slide.

Application Format and Deadline
The application package should be submitted on Formstack as two PDF files (8 1/2″ x 11″ page). The project proposal should not be more than 25 single-sided pages and 15 megabytes and the project preview slides should not be more than 2 slides and 5 megabytes.

Names should be named in the following format:
-Project Proposal: “Lead Contact Last Name”_”Project Name”_Proposal.pdf
-Project Preview Slides: “Lead Contact Last Name”_”Project Name”_Preview Slides.pdf

Proposals are due no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on January 8, 2018.

Applicants may email questions to All questions and answers will be posted on The Architectural League’s and Socrates Sculpture Park’s websites. Click here to read the FAQs.

Project Directors
Jess Wilcox, Director of Exhibitions, Socrates Sculpture Park
Anne Rieselbach, Program Director, The Architectural League of New York

The Architectural League of New York nurtures excellence in architecture, design, and urbanism, and stimulates thinking and debate about the critical design and building issues of our time. As a vital, independent forum for architecture and its allied disciplines, the League helps create a more beautiful, vibrant, innovative, and sustainable future. Learn more at

Folly/Function, a partnership of Socrates Sculpture Park and The Architectural League of New York, is supported with a generous grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, and made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

Socrates Sculpture Park’s Exhibition Program is also supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Charina Endowment Fund, Paula Cooper, Mark di Suvero, Sidney E. Frank Foundation, Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation for Art, Agnes Gund, The Kayden Family, Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, Ivana Mestrovic, Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger, Joel Shapiro and Ellen Phelan, Leonard and Louise Riggio, Silvercup Studios, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas W. Smith, and Spacetime C. C. Special thanks to our public partners, including the City of New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Queens Borough President Melinda R. Katz, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer and Council Member Costa Constantinides, the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, Commissioner Mitchell Silver, and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl.