Green Trees Estate: Wedding Venue "Folly"

On the successful completion of a new “Georgian” Country House as a private dwelling and a converted stable block into a wedding venue on the Greentree Estate, west of Balcombe and located in the High Weald AONB, we were asked by the client to design a folly.

The brief was clear in terms of both its use and its traditional style. In the full panoply of architectural terms, “folly” has a distinct meaning and is usually applied to a small building that is designed primarily to be seen, but suggests through its appearance something intriguing, as generally, it has an extravagant appearance that transcends the range of usual garden building. This was our client’s idea behind a romantic and memorable backcloth for outside wedding ceremonies, as an adjunct to the existing wedding venue, with the undercroft acting as the area where the marriages are solemnised “in a permanent structure with a solid roof” as required by the current law.

To give the building a suitable scale to both the landscape and to the importance of the wedding ceremony, we proposed a building in line with traditional follies, built on Country Estates to ornament the landscape, and celebrate views. In this case it is to celebrate views of both the North and South Downs from one unique location at an appropriate distance from the Wedding Venue. In addition to ceremonies, it will also be open occasionally to a wider public for their enjoyment.

It is designed as an ornamental building in the classical style, very much in keeping with the recently completed Greentree Hall, to provide fun and happiness whilst having a serious function and purpose. Its traditional design adds a further sense of intrigue and mystery in line with the Main House, a new building assumed by most to be a renovation.