Category New Waterscapes

Running and maintenance

People who own and run a water feature will soon become disillusioned with it if it costs more than a modest amount to maintain. Planning should thus aim to avoid high main­tenance and running expenses. A number of very creatively successful water features have been closed because of techni­cal problems, the need for frequent repair work and unduly high running costs.

Traditionally fountains and other running water features are closed in winter. But it is possible to run them all the year round if appropriate preventive measures are taken, like frost­proof water storage facilities and a heated water supply.

A thorough planning approach will pay particular atten­tion to the later running of the water feature. More or less elaborate solutions will be selected according to location...

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From the idea to the finished object

Section through purification biotope

Water can be a problem in urban open spaces. Building water features seems prohibitively expensive, too many things can go wrong, and maintenance is too expensive. But when the water quality is right, pumps, filters and control devices are working properly, the parts of the building that come in contact with the water are not damaged and when water, along with light and sound effects, turns boring places into exciting ones, no one wants to be without it. But however easily and light­heartedly water flows and splashes – it needs expert handling in urban landscapes.

Constructed water features are always individual objects. They emerge from interplay between the possibilities offered by the site and clients’ and planners’ ideas and wishes...

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Water playground in Pforzheim

 

Children like asking questions, and sometimes they ask a lot. Adults don’t always like explaining things, rarely do it vividly and sometimes not at all – if they don’t know the answer. This is why children’s playgrounds exist. They can look for things to do there, set them­selves problems and work out how to solve them. Water is always on the move, creates a path for itself, comes to the surface, collects, seeps away – and raises questions. How does water come to the surface, why does it flow in the way it does, where do I stand in the cycle of coming to the surface and running away?

A water playground in the South German town of Pforzheim tries to pro­vide answers to these many questions.

It stands on the northern edge of the Black Forest, and in 1992 staged the regional ho...

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Restoration of Emscher river, Ruhr Valley

 

Industrial regions such as the Ruhr Valley, one of Europe’s biggest industrial conglomerations with a population just under 4 million, have decidedly improved the level of affluence and comfort of our Western civilization.

In many incidences, this industrial improvement has been at the cost of the environment and natural resources, and many healthy rivers have been sacrificed along the way. 100 years ago, the river Emscher wound its way through an intact river meadow and wetland habitat. As a consequence of coal mining, the land sunk and the river Emscher came to serve as sewerage and general rubbish canal. The result was regular and putrid flooding. In those days, the solution was to build dykes and fortified river walls...

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Exemplary water management at DWR Headquarters, Amsterdam

  Exemplary water management at DWR Headquarters, Amsterdam

For a dyke control and sewerage utility company in Amsterdam, expectations are high in regards to the stormwater management of its own sites, plants and buildings. DWR Amsterdam intended to meet and exceed these expectations with the design and construction of its new headquarters on the River Amstel, setting an example for excellent water practice.

The new building is fronted by a large water basin, with one of the two high-rise towers propped directly above the water. The basin is multifunctional. On one hand, it detains stormwater run­off from the site before slowly releasing it to the river Amstel...

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Heiner-Metzger Plaza, Neu-Ulm

 

On many issues Neu-Ulm is over­shadowed and out-muscled by her elder, bigger sister, Ulm. The two cities are physically separated by the river Danube and politically by the state boundary; Neu-Ulm is in Bavaria, Ulm in Baden-Wurttemberg. Ulm is a historic town, severely bombed during World War II. Neu-Ulm was largely constructed after the war and retains the character of a suburb, rather than a town in its own right. This is however a unique (now ‘historic’) urban style and has a rough, strangely appealing charm. The Neu-Ulm train station was demolished and put underground, which opened the opportunity for a signature urban renewal project, the redesign of the Heiner-Metzger Plaza in front of the former train station...

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Interior courtyard of an old people’s home in Stuttgart

 

Water glides softly through stone channels, makes a pleasing sound in little waterfalls then disappears again among the aquatic plants. The sound brings a sense of magic to the space, and life into the old people’s home.

 

For people who like to have greenery around them the Nicolaus-Cusanus – Haus in Stuttgart offers an internal space with a lot of plants, thus bringing nature even to those who are confined and can only control how they spend their own time to a limited extent: the occupants of old people’s homes and nursing-homes. The first impression is that of being in the tropical house in a botanical garden, though without the greenhouse atmosphere that quickly drives Western Europeans back out into the fresh air...

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‘Water-traces’ in Hannoversch Munden

 

People wonder about the source of major rivers from time to time. And there are some that do not have a source at all. The Weser, for example.

It seems that it got its name because people could not agree whether the river should be called the Fulda or the Werra from the point at which they meet in Hannoversch Munden. This town, now called Hann. Munden for short, is near Kassel, and – as is the case with many places on rivers – water is very impor­tant, bringing great happiness and great misery. And yet the two rivers that meet here flow past behind the old town, and are quite insignificant for it and in the awareness of many people.

A well as three rivers, the town also has three connected squares in the heart of the old quarter: Kirchplatz, the square between the church and ...

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Towards a new water culture

We are going to have to learn how to handle water in future. This means co-operative planning and a high level of participation. A project in Hannoversch Munden has produced some early experience in this field.

If you ask people about environmental problems in surveys, water is almost never mentioned. More of them are aware of traffic, noise and air pollution and the hole in the ozone layer. We carried out surveys in Dresden and Frankfurt in which only 7.6 % of the Dresden residents questioned mentioned water as an environmental problem, and in Frankfurt it was only 3.3 %. We need to drink water every day, and use it to keep clean, to promote a sense of well-being, and for recreation.

So why is it not watched with particular care in respect to possible environmental problems? How can this ...

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The Pearl of Hangzhou water garden, Hangzhou

The Pearl of Hangzhou water garden, HangzhouПодпись:Подпись:Подпись:

The enormous economic expansion and construction boom in China holds the world in suspense. The dimension and tempo of the boom are hard to rival by any western metropolis. When working with the Chinese, one encounters inner values which trigger surprising and unusual lines of questioning for occidentals. Water is valued in China, and respected not only in ‘Feng Shui’ Water has great symbolic power which is deep seated in traditional value systems – values which are worth transporting to the modern world of today.

Situated on the upper reaches of the Yangtze Delta only 180 kilometres from Shanghai, Hangzhou is the capital of the Zhejiang province. The Hangzhou district has a population of over 6 million, the city itself is over 1.7 million strong and growing fast...

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