July 5, 2006

Lovejoy Plaza Fountain

Lovejoy Fountain
Lovejoy Fountain
This is the other fountain designed by Lawrence Halprin, the prolific and accomplished American landscape architect, in the urban renewal blocks. It's a secret, so be sure to tell no one!

Compared to Ira's Fountain, this is the black sheep, the underloved child. Ira's attracts folks like a magnet, whereas this seems to not have enough strength to repel people. I'm told folks in the apartments and condos nearby use it to wade and cool off, but I see so few signs of that when I wander around during the work day.

It's a curious space, to be certain. The fountain, by itself, is quite pleasant, and it has areas that are designed for visitors to interact with water. And walking along these carfree corridors is a great way for me to lose a bad mood.

Here's what is said about this fountain and how it fits into the rest of the urban renewal blocks:

The Lovejoy and Forecourt Fountains are part of the Portland Open-Space Sequence designed by Halprin in 1965. In his notes about the work, Halprin talks about "urban gardens" and how "they reveal a relation to the rest of the city, emphasizing movement through the malls." The visitor can walk from the open Lovejoy Plaza to the green Pettigrove Park to dramatic Forecourt Fountain. Again, the idea of the choreographed movement through artwork is intensely important.

Beginning with the wide-open stepped concrete plaza at Lovejoy, the visitor is brought into Halprin's vision of the rocks of the High Sierra, where the board-formed steps echo the ledges of rocks recorded during Halprin's hikes for inspiration. The fountain is successful in developing a variety of vistas and water modifiers, that is to say, ways to make the water perform in both active and contemplative manners. The large open areas and the accompanying wooden wing-like structure, designed by architect Charles Moore, invite the public's participation.

Water Garden: Lawrence Halprin and the East Capitol Campus; A report by the Washington State Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and the Washington State Arts Commission (PDF)


Madge said:

But wait...this is supposed to be a secret? Everyone knows where this is!

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