Student and Alumni Design Contest: Future Follies Speculative Futures

Request for Proposals


After a year of pain and tremendous loss, we turn to the architectural flights of fancy planned by Kentucky native Clay Lancaster. In a joint exhibition, the Warwick Foundation and the Kentucky College of Art and Design are proud to bring together the fanciful rural follies of Lancaster’s imagination with the urban follies of KyCAD students and alumni. While none of these fabulous architectural follies physically exists in the landscape, they nonetheless have the power to spark our dreams and hopes for the future, reimagining our surroundings, both rural and urban.

What is an architectural folly?

In the words of The Royal Oak Foundation, “a folly is a whimsical or extravagant structure built to serve as a conversation piece, lend interest to a view, commemorate a person or event.”1 Joy, pleasure, and delight are key to these structures.

Clay Lancaster and the Warwick Foundation

Founded by the estate of Clay Lancaster after his death in 2000, the Warwick Foundation is committed to celebrating and preserving the architectural heritage of Kentucky. Artist, Architect, Author, and a prolific creative force in the history of Kentucky, “Clay Lancaster was infected by a love of architecture at an early age, a gentle madness from which he never cared to recover.” This ‘gentle madness’ inspired dozens of books documenting the unique history of American architecture, including many where Clay laid out his own vision for whimsical architectural follies. While many of his follies were never realized, they nevertheless continue to delight and dazzle us decades later.


The end result of this project will be an online exhibition and a printed publication, combining a selected number of Clay Lancaster’s follies with juried student proposals.

Submission Details


Open to all KyCAD students and alumni.


March 31, 2021 — Information session will be held
May 20, 2021 — First draft of proposals due
June 10, 2021 — Final draft of proposals due (for selected finalists)

Application Process*

  • At least one clear, high-quality image of the physical location where you would site your folly
  • One sketch of your proposed architectural folly
  • One sketched detail of your proposed architectural folly
  • A short artist statement explaining your choice of site and your proposed folly (between 150-200 words)

* Students are invited to submit multiple proposals for consideration.


Artists selected for provisional inclusion in the exhibition will be notified of their acceptance via email. Provisionally accepted artists will receive a $100 stipend to further refine their sketch into a finalized proposal. (Payment due upon final completion of the proposal.) Artists are invited to submit multiple proposals for consideration. Should more than one proposal be accepted, the artist will receive a separate stipend for each accepted proposal.


If you have any questions about the exhibition, please email Professor Céline Browning at