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Lawrence Halprin: Auditorium Forecourt Fountain (Ira Keller), Portland

Landscape Architecture Magazine has a huge 18-page spread on Lawrence Halprin (1916-2009) in the February 2010 issue. It is a great article and you should take a look at it.

For those of you who don’t know the work of Lawrence Halprin, I wanted to share my favorite Halprin project, the Auditorium Forecourt Fountain in Portland. The project is not over 40 years old but it remains one of the most important and well loved modern water features in America. In June 1970, Ada Louise Huxtable of the NYT’s wrote, “On Tuesday, Portland will start the water flowing in the fountains of what may be one of the most important urban spaces since the Renaissance. The word ‘fountains’ requires a little clarification. ‘Waterfalls” would be a more accurate description.” I think today we would refer to it as a ‘water feature’ or a ‘waterscape’ or maybe a ‘water park’.  The word ‘fountain’ is too singular to express this kind of immersive environment or world.


It is a place where kids and adults can play together.  It is also a place where active and passive experiences can co-exist right next to one another.

forecourt_fountain forecourt_fountain_01


I get the sense in Halprin’s work that he really respects the intelligence of the end user. The spaces challenge people to climb and explore; it is like exploring a natural waterfall or geology. I wish more playgrounds were like this.



Read More:
Deep Portland history: Lawrence Halprin and Ira Keller

Photo Credit: I found all the images online. Please email me to add photo credits.

February 4, 2010 0
See more: fountains

Fountain Friday: Villa d’Este


I took these photos of Villa d’Este in 2002, when I was in Italy for the Landscapes of Water conference in Barri.

Villa d’Este, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a great hillside water estate, built between 1550-1572 in Tivoli, near Rome. The estate was commissioned by Cardinal d’Este.

Pirro Ligorio and Alberto Galvari designed the water features, Thomaso Chiruchi provided engineering and Claude Venard manufactured key equipment. The landscape and water features were partially inspired by the ruins of Emperor Hadrian’s villa Adriana which I also visited .

They claim that there are over 500 jet or water expressions within the garden, but I would guess there are about 10 main water features.  All the fountains are gravity fed from a source at the top of the hill. The water continues out of the garden to serve as a source of water for the village below.

Some of the most famous fountains at Villa d’Este:

  • Le Cento Fontane (The Terrace of 100 Fountains)
  • Fontana della Rometta (Fountain of Rome)
  • Fontana dell’Ovato (Oval Fountain)
  • (Fountain of the Dragon)
  • (Fountain of Diana of Ephesus)

Click on the pictures below to see them larger on Flickr and to read the comments.

Read more: Villa d’Este – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


December 31, 2009 0
See more: buildings & places, fountains, water

Fountain Friday Series Begins

What is Fountain Friday?
Starting in 2010, every Friday I am going to be blogging about a different historic fountain or water feature. I want to skip around the world and through time to look at how people have used water features as social, economic, environmental and artistic engines. I am kicking off the series this week with pictures from my trip to Villa d’Este in Tivoli, Rome.

Are you on Twitter?
I will be posting links to the articles via Twitter with the hashtag #fountainfriday.
Follow my personal tweets @PattyHume  and/or my landscape/urban/water tweets @BREAK_urban

Know someone who would be interested in Fountain Friday? Send them a link to this blog!

Want to blog/tweet about water features too? Feel free to use the #fountainfriday hashtag.

December 31, 2009 0
See more: fountains, tweets