Fountains

Fountains in the City

Washington walkabout

Lincoln Memorial

On a recent visit to Washington, DC, I discovered it to be a very walkable city. Laid out in a radial system in the early 1800s, the wide, ample avenues crisscross each other making it easy to find one’s bearings. Even…

Benson bubblers keep on burbling

Benson Bubbler

Drinking fountains used to be everywhere – in schools, libraries, stores, and even on the street – but they seem to have disappeared with the onset of public hygiene concerns and bottled water. Not in downtown Portland, Oregon! Here, I was…

Lawrence Halprin’s Portland legacy

Portland legacy

Lawrence Halprin was a West Coast landscape architect who developed a radical strategy in the 1960s: why not design urban spaces, and especially water features, for public interaction? At a time when decorative fountains were for viewing and not for playing…

Fountain town

Animals in Pools

Portland, Oregon is a city filled with fountains. Since the region is blessed with an abundant water supply, fountains are everywhere – in parks, in squares, on street corners, in the middle of avenues, at the entrance of buildings, under highways. You can’t walk around…

Library as work of art

Seattle Public Library

Seattle Central Library is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and is very different from any library I have visited on my travels. Although there was a lot of public input, the design is mostly the work of Dutch architect Rem…

Fonte do Rossio

Lisboa fountain

This is one of the twin fountains in Rossio Square, a major meeting place in the middle of Lisbon, Portugal. The bronze fountains, incorporating mermaid sculptures, were built in France and shipped to Lisbon for installation in the square in…

Cool oasis in the Eternal City

Rome fountain

Rome is known for its fountains, from the smallest wall fountains that provide drinking water to the large plaza fountains, which instill feelings of awe and grandeur. But this summer, many of them were under wraps being cleaned, repaired or restored. So…

Park in Nice is nice

Nice park

I saw a great example of urban renewal during a recent visit to Nice, France. Promenade du Paillon is a park in the heart of the city, on a strip of land separating the old and new towns. Green space, walkways,…

Fountain of the sun

Nice fountain

Since sun worshippers flock to the French Riviera for sea and sand, it seems appropriate to have a fountain dedicated to the sun god at the edge of the old city of Nice, France. “La fontaine du soleil” by sculptor…

Lungs of the city

Bethesda Fountain

As fascinating as New York City can be with its outstanding architecture, abundant shopping, and incomparable entertainment, it can be incredibly draining on the psyche with its constant noise, concrete canyons, and hordes of people. That’s when parks come into their own, providing…