The Mall fountain, a bit of advocacy journalism

Wrote an article for the Hook about the disuse of the “interactive” water fountains on the Mall. It was unusual for me in that I wasn’t just writing about something happening, I was writing about something that I thought ought to happen.

Fountainblue: Who’ll revive our Mall fountains?

Can you place the four interactive water fountains on the Downtown Mall? Don’t feel bad if you can’t place them all. Three are usually hidden, surrounded by the outdoor seating at Miller’s, Sal’s and The Nook restaurants, and all four have strayed so far from their designer’s original intention that one local architect says the biggest one– at Central Place– has become “a kind of dead zone.”

According to several local architects, that’s not what renowned landscape architect Lawrence Halprin had in mind when he designed the Downtown Mall in the 1970s. Indeed, Halprin– now 90 and living in San Francisco– is famous for the integration of interactive fountains in his public space projects, most notably his Auditorium Forecourt Fountain in Portland, Oregon, a complex of falls and water shoots that invite people in to splash around. Here on the Mall, Halprin’s invite has been thwarted by restaurants co-opting the space around the fountains and general disuse, not to mention a thick “keep out” chain that was installed around the Central Place fountain.

Although Halprin couldn’t be reached before press time, UVA landscape architecture professor Beth Meyer agrees that his original idea for the fountains has been derailed.

Halprin, says Meyer–a specialist in 20th Century public landscapes–designed several significant American urban spaces, such as San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square, Portland, Oregon’s Auditorium Forecourt and Lovejoy Plaza, Seattle’s Freeway Park, and, of course, our Downtown Mall. “All of these spaces had fountains and pools that invited participation,” says Meyer. “From sitting on or stepping into a basin to jumping from stone to stone across a pool and immersing oneself in a waterfall.” In addition, Meyer says the Downtown Mall is one of Halprin’s finest works. “It is one of a few places in the United States where a pedestrian street has worked economically and socially,” she says. ” Granted, it has benefited from a populace that has valued it and cared for it even when it was not yet economically vital.”

Meyer, who spoke to Halprin about his Charlottesville work some years ago, says he did have plans for a large participatory fountain plaza at the east end of the Mall where the amphitheater went up, but the scheme was too costly for the City.

“But they did include the small fountain at Central Place,” she says. ” I first saw the Mall in the mid 1970s. The fountain was on, the basin full, and there were families gathered around it. When I moved here to teach in 1993, the fountain was not chained. The water was not always on, but when it was, it attracted people.” More

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “The Mall fountain, a bit of advocacy journalism

  1. Pingback: cvillenews.com » Blog Archive » Our Mall Fountains Have Strayed

  2. Pingback: Charlottesville Podcasting Network - The source for on-demand radio programs about Central Virginia » Charlottesville–Right Now: Making the Downtown Mall Beautiful Again

  3. Our company creates a business funny man destined on the footing of unrivalled and beautiful projects.
    These projects are carried revealed near the cards the best team of unmistakable artists and designers in
    the bazaar who are experts in every gist of the word. They are also altogether supple, so you can
    achieve jolly compelling trade press card designs, depending on the individual needs of each client.
    We do not own a whiz printing machines word of honour the highest blue blood of each lone card.
    Wide variety of identification b docket allows you to meet the expectations of notwithstanding the most demanding customers
    from every conceivable industry. We certify the language and appointment of mammoth quantities of enterprise
    cards in the shortest conceivable time. In our pack, the highest attribute is the payment of the proposed
    penalty and trusty accommodation from people receiving and carrying not at home an pecking order for business cards.
    With access to the services offered through our website, you can shortly and without undue
    formalities state an sect as a remedy for goods, comment the project and approved it and ordered some task
    cards. On our coterie as a respectable organization postcard is again a obligation for success.
    Greet
    Merio Kalendarze

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s