Here was our submission to this very interesting competition:
Daniel Hambleton/Crispin Howes/David Lieberman
“That no fountain be erected or promoted by the Association which shall not be so constructed as to ensure by filters, or other suitable means, the perfect purity and coldness of the water.”
The Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association 1859
The provision of fresh drinking water has an important history in the City of London, a history shared by Liverpool, Sydney, Australia, and Portland, Oregon all of whom have sought to provide their citizenry with the most basic of necessity . Fons or fontis, meaning fountain or more importantly source; the first settlements in many cultures and in many parts of the world had their origins as a shared space, the village square, the place of the well, the source, the spring, and the fountain. Water was the necessity of sustenance and the square was the space of community, the space of congregation and gathering for discourse and transaction. Water is no less necessary and no less symbolic in the cities of the contemporary world, and to provide that resource in the illusory nature of the urban park is a reminder of its source and the responsibilities to the maintenance of the natural world. Water is also the material of ablution, both physical and spiritual and the lens of contemplative reflection.
The proposed collection of drinking fountains evolves from the prototype as drawn; drinking fountains calibrated in height to the range of access from the standing adult to the small child with provision for those less physically able without compromise. The multiple machined arms of stainless steel rise from a machine carved or milled stone dish which catches the overflow to provide for the pets of the visitors to the Parks. The base is equipped with a valve control to the drain maintaining a bowl that is always full. The arcing water jets are activated by pressure sensors at each fountain head or nozzle with pressure governors to ensure a constant flow accessible to drink or to fill a vessel, a water bottle or flask. It should be noted that the tallest variant allows for a full gown adult to stand and drink; most conventional drinking fountains require an awkward bending of the spine to an uncomfortable height in order to drink. The fountain as presented is a composite of many arms; installations throughout the parks can be limited to a single fountain and modified to accommodate site or installation conditions.
Materials are chosen for longevity, durability, and the most stringent of health standards. The moulding, shaping, welding, and fastening of the stainless steel including the specific alloy composition and finish employ fabrication techniques used in the healthcare industry in supplying hospitals and laboratories. Plumbing fittings and valves are modifications of existing available technologies and products. The base is an as yet to be determined non porous stone; it should be noted that synthetic or composites will be considered providing a secure weighty base concealing a below ground set of plumbing connections and valves with a tooled access for seasonal shut off. Preliminary discussions with fabricators suggest that prototyping an initial installation is within the requirements of the competition budget parameters and that that the machining of dies and molds for fabrication of multip0les will result in an affordable set of variations on the initial proposal.
The design is playful and graceful echoing the lines by the water it provides and with its reflective surface echoing the subtle excitement and brightness of its refreshing and sustaining elixir. Although delicate in its form, the intent is to create an iconic presence and recognizable and tempting, or subtle seductive identity beckoning visitors to pause and to drink at the source.
“we have come to the fountain, I no longer need to look for water”