Saturday, September 20, 2014

Waterfall Fountain, Pioneer Courthouse Square

Here's a slideshow and a Vine clip of the "waterfall fountain" in Pioneer Courthouse Square, lining the entrance to the underground Visitors Center (previously a TriMet ticket booth and lost-and-found office). If you come across old photos of the fountain, you'll notice that it was once clad in a gaudy checkerboard of purple and blue tiles. I'm not sure when these were removed, but they looked like bathroom tile -- dated bathroom tile -- and the fountain looks better without them. The transcript of a lecture by Will Martin, the square's designer, has a bit about the design of the fountain and how it fit into the square's overall 1980s-Roman look.

The element you see in front of you, the generation of that came from fallen Roman art, but it’s totally modified. The elements you see on each side are what we would call a Boussioure, the big stones that make up this huge arch. The lectern in the middle is still a symbol of the keystone, but it is also electric, so it has a double kind of connotation. The fallen arch is also a fountain. Imagine the interpretation of a collapsed classical ruin that’s been sitting in an area for 500 years and there’s spring water welling up underneath it and the water runs over the rocks and it has all this wonderful vegetation, so it’s a very romantic idea.

[inaudible question]

Sure. The slots is where the water comes out - we’ll get a little closer if you have a minute, and I apologize for its ragged look, it isn’t finish yet. They have a lot of grouting to do yet and some tile to replace. They’ve been replacing some of the metal mouths inthese things, because they’re not level, so there’s a lot of work to be done. But it also provides an entryway, it’s the focal point to the square and it’s the main front door to the level of [inaudible]. We call it lower level, don’t refer to it as a basement, it’s not a basement. It is on grade with the square. We have nineteen feet of grade [inaudible. Really the only competitors of [inaudible] capturing about 17,000 square feet of usable space down below. A lot of that will be leasable to help finance the support of this thing.

So my head wasn’t all in the stars, it was also in the cash register. So, TriMet already has the corner, and we’ve got other leases in place down here. We’ve got a lot of storage over on the right and so on. We can talk about that later, but this column symbolic arch is also the front door. We have a pool of shallow water in which kids can play. I hope they get ducks and [inaudible].


[inaudible question]

The fountain was a recycled water system. The pumps on both sides underneath the fountain, it also ties the water in the water channels and gets the water in the [inaudible]. It’s all filtered and recycled There’s some make-up water naturally, it needs some for evaporation and all that, but it is truly economical.

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