University of Queensland architecture and engineering students joined forces with Queensland Emerging Architect of the year Kim Baber to learn about, prototype and fabricate experimental plywood structures. Taking their name from the 17th Century architectural term folly; a decorative building or structure located in parkland, the follies are actually high-tech creations built in the UQ Architecture digital fabrication lab.
Using digital 3D modelling and manufacturing, students designed ‘skin and scale’ shapes that were laser cut from flat sheets of plywood and then bent and woven to make instillations people could sit on and climb into.
After diving into the small-scale details of connection joints and assembly techniques, students zoomed out to learn about the impact their structures could have in their city. Learning about the Brisbane City Council’s Vibrant Laneways program created an opportunity for students to demonstrate the role temporary structures can play in activating urban spaces.
Working with Exhibition Coordinator Monique Baber, the follies were transported from the St Lucia campus and installed in Fish Lane for a recent evening event with food trucks and music from local DJs. Some stumbled across the follies while others planned ahead, bringing their families and friends. The evening was highly successful with hundreds gathering in Fish Lane including Queensland Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and Steven Miles, Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef.
Importantly, the students relished experiencing the impact their work can have. “We’d like to make an even bigger impact next time” said Kim Baber. “It would be great to activate the entire length of Fish Lane with experimental architecture!”
Fish Lane Follies was a collaborative project made possible with the support of the Brisbane City Council, Austral Plywoods, Aria Property Developers, The Fox Hotel, Inlite, Blumen Watts, the Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia, Rothe Lowman Architects and MAAP Media Bank.
For more images from the event please check out the UQ Architecture facebook album.