Water features

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Hellbrunn Palace , mannerist water feature in the crown grotto
Körnerpark Berlin, neo-baroque water staircase and orangery
Modern water games in MüGa-Park , Mülheim an der Ruhr

Water features are mostly artistically designed systems with variable fountains , gargoyles , artificial cascades , various water machines and the like. Water features are varied and their representation goes far beyond individual fountains, insofar as they have any similarities with fountains. Water games often have an underlying symbolism.

Development in Europe

In earlier centuries, such installations, which formed sophisticated works based on the state of the art, were also referred to as water art . The water features were created in Italy during the Renaissance period. There were famous water features in the area around Rome and Florence as well as in Lazio and Veneto. Individual examples are the Villa in Tivoli, ( Villa d'Este ), the Villa Aldobrandini or the Pratolino . Fountains were created in the late Renaissance and the Baroque period, but also in many cases in what is now Austria, in Germany, France and Spain. Only a few systems have been preserved, such as the baroque system in the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe in Kassel , which starts at the Hercules .

The Mannerist trick fountains Hellbrunn incorporate the rushing of the bubbling brook into the action in order to create a meditative atmosphere. Using water power, they generate a variety of bird voices and operate organ pipes that emit melodies , they make balls and crowns dance and move figures in ornamental ponds and grottos , which often tell episodes of ancient mythology ("water automats"). The water-driven mechanical theater of the Hellbrunn water games has over 200 individually moving figures. A grimacing face ("Germaul") rolls its eyes and shows its tongue.

The element of water is represented in the water features in many ways, as a spring, as a cascade, as a wall of water, as a water veil, as splashing water and as a bubbling brook. Fountains in the water features often have different heights and change them in predetermined, sometimes variable rhythms. They are fed by a sophisticated underground pipe system and can be driven by natural gradients or by pumps .

Modern water features

Recently, in addition to various fountains, some simple water features have been installed in some public parks , the fountains of which are regulated according to the rhythm of the music that is playing at the same time (“dancing fountains”). Such facilities are located, for example, in Košice , the capital of eastern Slovakia, at the spa colonnade in Marienbad or on Margaret Island in Budapest .

So far, only a few places in the world have modern large-scale facilities of this type, which were built as independent tourist attractions. Well-known water features of this kind are shown in Las Vegas in front of the Bellagio Hotel and in Dubai at the Burj Khalifa high-rise . The Font Magica in Barcelona is known in Europe .

Japanese garden art

A shishi-odoshi breaks the silence in Japanese gardens when a bamboo cane hits a rock.

A Japanese Shishi odoshi is a water feature that originally served to drive game or birds out of fields, but is often used in Japanese garden design. A jet of water fills a bamboo tube that is suspended like a balance beam with a counterweight. As soon as the pipe is filled with water, the “balance beam” lowers, the stored water runs out of the pipe, the counterweight lets the bamboo pipe fall back, whereupon it hits a stone and makes a knocking noise.

Water games with a waterfall effect

With the help of ball electricity , also known as the waterfall effect, there should be an ionization of the surrounding air and thus a vitalizing effect on people in the immediate vicinity. Indoor fountains in the form of a tier or water walls that symbolize a waterfall are just a few examples.

Large-scale water features, for example in inner cities, usually have several goals:

  • Artistic design of an area using building materials of any kind
  • Use of watercourses, overflow pools, in the sense of Kneipp
  • Moving technical structures for human interaction (children), for example: water wheels , water spindles , etc. on the water surface

In esotericism, the waterfall effect is seen as a way to erase the “memory” of water. The “memory” should be based on the clustering of water molecules through hydrogen bonds. However, this clustering is only short-lived and therefore does not allow the water to store information for a longer period of time. The claim of a water memory is scientifically not tenable and thus also the deletion of the same by the waterfall effect.

See also


  • Albert Baur: water games for gods, princes and people. Oldenbourg Verlag, Munich 1992, ISBN 3-486-26284-X .
  • Jean-Michel Othoniel : Les belles danses. Versailles, in the water theater grove redesigned by Louis Benech . Éditions Dilecta, Paris 2015, ISBN 979-10-90490-81-9 .
  • Ronald Clark: Against gravity. The water art in Herrenhausen as a technical masterpiece of the 18th and 19th centuries. In: Palaces and their gardens. Herrenhausen Summer Academy, Hanover 2013, pp. 79–91.
  • Heike J. Zech: Cascades in German garden art of the 18th century. From architectural fountains to nature-imitating waterfalls. LIT-Verlag, Zurich 2010, ISBN 978-3-643-90045-6 . (also dissertation . University of Bamberg, 2008)

Individual evidence

  1. Bergpark Kassel
  2. ^ History and architecture of the Font Màgica in Barcelona
  3. ^ H. Bergmann: Wondrous Water - From Emoto to Grander. From: skeptics. Journal of the Society for the Scientific Investigation of Parasciences, Edition 03/2011, pp. 117–126.
  4. Hellbrunn Trick Fountains