Julien Leyssene

Julien Leyssene

Brooklyn, NY, US



Entry for 2015 Folly Competition sponsored by the Architectural League of New York & Socrates Sculpture Park.

Awards: Selected by the jury as a Notable Entry. 

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MERRY-GO-GROUND proposes to install common landscape elements on modified merry-go-rounds that are recessed flush into the ground, allowing park-goers of all ages the opportunity to playfully rearrange the landscape.

Many parks and municipalities have been removing merry-go-rounds in recent years due to their reputation as a safety liability. Certain older models in particular pose a risk to young children if they are improperly used. With the help of a playground safety consultant, I have reached out to several local municipalities and confirmed that their merry-go-grounds are slated for removal and are available at no cost.

Merry-Go-Ground challenges ones perception of nature & landscape as being a static experience. Imagine discovering that you can push a tree across the park! This project is part art installation, part playground, and should be 100% fun!

Socrates Sculpture Park is one of few large public parks in that area of Queens. In my several site visits over the years to the park, I’ve always noticed that the demographic is roughly split in two: people who have come specifically to observe and experience the art, and local families who use the park as a park - to picnic, to play, and to allow their children to run around. This project is intended to cater to them as well, to provide a new type of spatial experience, to advance the ideas of safe and innovative play for children and to give new life to old merry-go-rounds.

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Organized by The Architectural League of New York and Socrates Sculpture Park, Folly 2015 is an annual competition among emerging architects to design and build a large ­scale project for public exhibition at Socrates Sculpture Park.

Socrates Sculpture Park and The Architectural League launched the annual Folly program in 2012 to create an opportunity for emerging architects and designers to build projects in the public realm and explore the boundaries between architecture and sculpture.

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Status: Competition Entry
Location: Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, NY
My Role: Designer