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Hydro Dramatics Makes a Splash at Citygarden

Photo by Steve Hall@ HedrichBlessing

Fountains and Water Features Add to Ambiance of a Downtown Oasis

As legions of delighted visitors can attest, water is one of the most inviting elements at downtown St. Louis’ newest attraction: Citygarden, a 2.9-acre lush stretch of plant life punctuated by sculpture, stone and water features. While the sculptures represent the work of several different artists, the fountains reflect the creative and technical design capabilities of St. Louis-based fountain consulting firm Hydro Dramatics in collaboration with Citygarden designer Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects. Citygarden, which opened to the public July 1, is the culmination of a partnership between the City of St. Louis and the non-profit St. Louis-based Gateway Foundation.

“Water is a primary focus of many of our design projects, and we wanted water to be central to everyone’s experience of Citygarden,” says Warren Byrd Jr., senior principal at Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects. “We feel that much of Citygarden’s remarkable initial public acceptance is due to the success of its water displays.”

Citygarden offers three major water features that creatively blend sight, sound and touch to appeal to all ages, according to Kerry Friedman, vice president and general manager of Hydro Dramatics. “We sought the best ways to use water to provide two contrasting types of ambiance: a cooling, active, splashing ‘playground’ on the one hand and a serene, reflective oasis in the midst of a busy city on the other. Using sophisticated computerization and the newest technology, we were able to create multi-faceted water features that balance active fun and passive relaxation in the midst of a beautiful sculptural garden."

Photo by Steve Hall@ HedrichBlessing

The first of the Citygarden water features, which is located at a main entry point, is a pool that is 34 feet in diameter; the pool encircles a massive sculpture resting atop a granite disk. A scrim of water sheets gently from the base of the sculpture across the disk, providing a serene and cooling setting.

The second is a split-level basin, 180 feet long, 20 feet wide and 16 inches deep. The upper basin, which includes a pool and sculpture, is connected to the lower basin by a dramatic six-foot waterfall that adds to the ambiance with both sight and sound, muffling street traffic.

The third is one of the largest interactive “play fountains” in the United States. It offers 102 vertical water jets pulsing in ever-changing patterns along a 120-foot by 36-foot plaza paved with slip-resistant bluestone. The jets, which shoot as high as six feet and are lit in a rainbow of hues each night, are controlled by an on-site computer designed, remotely monitored and maintained by Hydro Dramatics. In contrast to the active fun offered by the spurting jets is a serene pool cut out of the spray plaza containing a small, contemplative sculpture.

Photo by Steve Hall@ HedrichBlessing

Friedman says that environmental consciousness is evident in the design of the fountains. Lighting uses energy-saving LED technology and water is re-circulated as much as possible. He says that in the spray plaza water flows into an underground reservoir where it is filtered and cleaned with computer-controlled equipment that minimizes the use of chemicals.

Established in 1972, Hydro Dramatics is a division of Missouri Machinery & Engineering Co. Inc. This affiliation enhances Hydro Dramatics’ technological and fountain creative expertise and provides its design team with direct access to the fabrication/manufacturing capabilities needed to tackle the most sophisticated fountain projects, including the Gateway Geyser in East St. Louis, the tallest fountain in the United States.

Hydro Dramatics also has created signature water features in and around St. Louis at the world-renowned Missouri Botanical Garden; the Grand Basin and Jewel Box in Forest Park; the Saint Louis Zoo; and Saint Louis University. In addition to creating fountains regionally and nationally, Hydro Dramatics provides fountain equipment overseas. The firm also has designed and created fountains in San Juan, Puerto Rico; at Weil University in Doha, Qatar; and at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

See Also:

STL Today glowing globes photo - January 31, 2010

Citygarden grand opening video on Living St. Louis - July 16, 2009


Media contact: Patricia Binder, 636-441-0022, or Debra Finkel, 314-878-1213, Finkel & Binder Communications LLC, agent for Hydro Dramatics.


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