Design: Form Follows Fantasy

In Texas and Minnesota, remarkable midwinter follies

Practical-minded modern Americans have been contemptuous of follies, those curious buildings meant only to charm and delight. But recent architectural fashion has been tending toward the fey, even the frivolous. This winter in the American heartland, form follows fantasy completely: in St. Paul and Galveston, Texas, local volunteers have just finished putting up elaborate municipal whimsies.

As the centerpiece of its centennial winter carnival, St. Paul has a neogothic ice palace twelve stories tall. And with its Mardi Gras celebrations as a happy pretext, downtown Galveston has seven exotic ceremonial arches designed by a remarkable group of architects. The ice palace...

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