The 8 Most Interesting Water Features

There are numerous ways landscape architects can incorporate water in their projects. Water features can significantly enhance the value of a landscape and are an ideal addition to any outdoor space: From tranquil waterfalls and flowing fountains to still, serene ponds, water features can promote calm and peacefulness, as well as direct peoples focus and attention. They also have the ability to attract wildlife, bringing an array of potential to landscape design. Here at contractor complete, we have compiled a collection of very inspiring, diverse projects with water features that can serve as a source of inspiration for your upcoming design. Remember to employ water specialists and contractors to ensure the success of your project!

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Piazza Gae Aulenti, Milan, Italy

An initiative to rehabilitate the Porta Nuova Garibaldi neighborhood in Milan is an excellent illustration of an unconventional urban intervention with use of water features. In the past ten years, Milan has undergone significant transformations in terms of landscape planning, having incorporated more and more water and green into what is otherwise a very cement-based, urbanized city. These alterations are coming from new commitments to diverse landscape design in urban planning.

The plaza was created by landscape architect AECOM and is a wonderful example of a design to suit the Milanese lifestyle. The ‘piazza’ is distinguished by a central water feature consisting of 3 water falls and fountains interlaced with walking paths. Seating is placed around the edges of the features, providing places to relax and enjoy the sun while gazing at adjacent towers. The sound of water cascading down the waterfalls also helps to reduce the amount of noise pollution created by nearby motorways. In 2016, the project was also a recipient of an award from the Landscape Institute.

Granary Square, London, UK

Granary Square, a strategically placed multipurpose space north of Kings Cross and St Pancras Station. It is without a doubt one of the most significant recent urban regenerations in the UK. It is one of Europe’s biggest water features, with four spectacular banks of fountains containing over 1000 separate jets. The Fountain Workshop worked on the design of the water feature, which allows the jets to be set separately to splash in patterned arrangement around the square and walkways as desired. During the day, children can play in the water features, while students from the university and workers from neighboring businesses can relax in the square, making it one of London’s most active plazas.

Roombeek the Brook, Enschede, The Netherlands

Buro Sant en Co. was in charge of this project’s design, which is situated right in the centre of the town Enschede’s, in the vibrant area of Roombeek, incorporating a variety of components with some link to water. The design consists of a startlingly uneven structure of jagged stepping stones, makes references not only of the chaotic aspect of the natural world but also to the spectacular beauty of a fireworks show. The stones are organized in a more organic pattern, and their look changes as time and weather pass. This project is a wonderful illustration of how natural elements, like water, may be successfully integrated into urban areas.

The Floating Islands: Palm Islands, Chongqing, China

The floating islands of Chongqing, China, are a cutting-edge illustration of how water can be blended into the contemporary urban design—including stairs that seem to disappear into the ground, below the water level. The project, designed by Hassel, comprises five separate buildings with six different restaurants, and a stunning water courtyard that has been carefully integrated into the design. As you walk across the paths that link the different buildings, it feels as if you’re floating on water. The floating islands are not only an interesting tourist attraction, but they also serve a useful purpose by reducing the temperature of the area, owing to the very hot climate. Furthermore, solar panels and rainwater collection systems are incorporated into the design to lessen the structure’s impact on the environment.

Edinbourgh Gardens Rain Garden, Melbourne, Australia

Gardens and parks are often irrigated with potable water. Edinburgh Park’s rain garden in Melbourne, Australia, was built by GHD Pty Ltd to enhance the park’s beauty while also providing a sustainable alternative to traditional irrigation practices. Reclaimed water usage is the central purpose of this project, and has been the reason for its success. Water from a major sewer in North Fitzroy is diverted, filtered, and then stored in an underground tank and used for irrigating existing trees in the gardens. 60% of irrigation needs per year are met by this source, and it has the added environmental benefit of lessening the amount of human waste pumped into waterways.

LaLaport Toyosu, Tokyo, Japan

This project was designed by EARTHSCAPE to structure the entire landscape into the layers that make up an ocean. Built on two former shipyard docks in Tokyo Bay, the first half of the dock is an open space with the ground shaped like the swells of the ocean, or rather, waves. As the landscape tracks closer to the bay,
it becomes a green space but maintains its undulating formation. The other half of the landscape consists of walkways moving through a vast water feature. Tracking through this half of the docks gives us the impression of walking between tiny man-made islands as if visitors were on a journey. The amenities available include a café, a radio station, and a museum. The whole project gives us a unique feeling of being a part of an ocean ecosystem above the surface of the water.

9/11 Memorial

PWP Landscape Architecture was responsible for the design of the 9/11 Memorial. A canopy of oak trees surrounds the two fountain voids that were erected on the sites where the twin towers formerly stood before the terrorist attacks of 2001. While the waterfall seems to be descending into the darkness of the lower levels of the monument, it is in reality a green roof on top of numerous buildings. This gives the impression that the memorial is encouraging reflection, about loved ones, about society, paying homage to those who lost their lives. The names of those lost are engraved in the stone at the boundaries of the monument.

Park Zomerhuis, Stekene, Belgium

The OMGEVING Landscape Architecture office was in charge of the reconversion of the The Zomehuis was an iconic landmark from 1936, originally housing a swimming pool and a brasserie, before being abandoned in the 90s and then finally being renovated in 2008. As a result of the modifications that were made in 2008, a natural park was established in place of the recreational area. The park was designed by OMGEVING and now surrounds the swimming pool that has become the focal point of the landscape and been granted a new lease on life. Seating areas and a fountain maze encourage people also to gather and socialise.

Which one is your favourite type of water feature? Let us know in the comments.

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