‘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 the town hall and the market-place. When decisions were made about traffic – calming, people had the idea of rede­signing and revitalizing the squares. A theme was quickly found: ‘water-traces’

– the paths followed by watercourses – were to be made visible. Registering as an associate Expo location provided an immovable completion deadline.

The way in which project was organ­ized made a major contribution to its success. Five working groups made up of residents, landscape architects and fine artists, chaired by an architect, devel­oped a wide range of ideas. Experts worked together and with laymen in an open atmosphere and finally created six works of art in the ensemble of squares, which slopes downwards from south to north.

The Dreiseitl studio built its con­tribution to this system, which is fed mainly by rainwater, in the square between the church and the town hall. There are four terraced steps here, like a large folded carpet. The water bubbles out of the topmost, narrowest terrace, and runs over the next three, each of which drops through a small height.

 

‘Water-traces' in Hannoversch Munden

The lighting design generates always new perspectives in the water.

 

‘Water-traces' in Hannoversch Munden

The rhythmic patterns on the surface of the water are reflected on to the large town hall facade by cleverly devised lighting management.

 

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‘Water-traces' in Hannoversch Munden

‘Water-traces' in Hannoversch Munden

‘Water-traces’ in Hannoversch Munden

 

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A narrow stainless steel gutter accepts the water at the bottom and takes it back to the circulation tank. And now people of all ages can go in search of the traces left by the water on this car­pet. One aspect is that the water leaves all sorts of different traces because of differences in the subsoil. But then peo­ple can leave their own traces or tracks here – which was very important to the artists and planners. The nature of the flow is changed if people simply step into the pool. But you can also change the flow pattern by using the plates, slides and wave-making devices that are placed around the carpet.

 

The sounds of the city are collected by a microphone that is integrated into the wall and then transformed into vibrations of the metal plate. The plate thus becomes a special interactive element.

 

‘Water-traces' in Hannoversch Munden

Experience, touch and just get going and play without worrying

 

The shallow water allows for playing on the water ‘car­pet’. Three steles with light and sounds accentuate the square.

 

The overall effect is further enhan­ced by three steles: V-shaped glass about 5 metres high sits on a steel plinth and is lit obliquely after dark. Light is then caught by a sand-blasted relief, and produces an image. Light then shoots in its turn through the gap in the V to the mirror at the top, which casts the beam on to the pool of water whose mobile structure is then reflected on to the wall of the town hall. Loud­speakers mounted in the steles throw artistically alienated voices or sounds made by water out into the scene, as a pattern of urban noise. Here water is clearly making a material effect. Flow images trigger ideas, projections give rise to associations, water leaves traces. 136

 

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‘Water-traces' in Hannoversch Munden

‘Water-traces' in Hannoversch MundenE_05_a_dreiseitl_130-151_16 19.09.2005 12:05 Uhr Seite 138