AIA Water Fountain Feature ( Feng / Fung Shui and Zen Quality )
During one of our design-build projects, we were asked by the homeowner to renovate and convert a dead space into a live active pool of water. Mr Jeffrey Dachis wanted something that was serene, soft, complimentary to the house architecture and feel like he was next to a running creek of water. While designing the system, there were concerns for water conservation and ease of maintenance.
I first approached the idea of water fountain by renovating the front entry water fall. The house had existing pipes that were used for a water fall that never materialized. It basically never worked correctly and the neglect caused mosquito problems, not to mention looking at the ugly green slime build everyday when coming home. This is not good. When I reworked the whole system with automation, I intentionally made 2 water spouts coming out of the rocks to make a pair (Yin and Yang). The pairing is a very zen like quality for harmony and continual peace – husband wife, domestic partners, cohabitats, companions, best friends (bffs) and beloved pets. Just having the fountain in the entry is also very good Feng / Fung Shui as it invites good fortune for family prosperity and growth.
As for the pool in the dining room, I had a special water fountain tray built to lay rocks in. The movement of water across the rocks produce a beautiful natural sound that only nature can make. For many reasons, water is soothing to the mind and soul. We can appreciate that when water moves, our lives move too and flow where fate and nature wants us to be. The rocks in the pool are simple rocks that lay in the concrete bed. The rocks do not completely encompass or hide the cement backs, but instead share the water environment by showing what is truly there and what can always blend with nature as Isamu Noguchi said, “The art of stone in a Japanese garden is that of placement. Its ideal does not deviate from that of nature. But Im also a sculptor of the West. I place my mark and do not hide.” For design simplicity of harmony, we must show what is there and not what is hidden.
Thus, when the owner decides to stop water recirculation, the rocks in itself turn into a form of a rock garden. Rock gardens are used in Japan and have many meanings behind it. The duality of the system I built serves that purpose and a beautiful rock garden will always wait to be unveiled at any moment.
Interestingly, when I finished the fountains, I noticed birds and squirrels would flock to it for drinking and bathing. It’s amazing how the sound of water movement attracts animals, supply water for animals and their families, and show appreciation of the homeowner’s fondness for nature. In essence, design for the future is in sharing for everyone and not just people!
by Jon Lee