June 7, 2011 at 5:40 pm #162350
Yes, this IS digusting, but it can provide a valuable design lesson (especially dealing with water). You must think about appropriateness and end-users when designing a plaza. Do you really want people to touch obeject d’art? Do you really want people to touch the water? If so, you better be installing a full filtration and sterilization system (inlcuding chorinization)! Now, this is not the norm, but after dealing with waterparks..it should be treated as such. Other question…where did the $11 million go?
From New Haven Connecticut: Source: The Day
New London — The city turned off the water at the new whale tail fountain over the weekend after someone reportedly defecated in the water.
“People are using the tail as a latrine,” Evelyn Louziotis said. “It’s an $11 million bathroom.”
“It’s sad,” City Councilor Michael Buscetto III said during Monday’s City Council meeting. “It’s two steps forward and three steps backward. There are people in the city who don’t care, and they need to be dealt with.”
Buscetto said since water started flowing in the whale fountain last month, police and fire officials have been called for people urinating, defecating and washing themselves off in the fountain water. He said some people who have cut themselves have also used the fountain to rinse off blood.
“I’m concerned with the sanitary aspect of the water,” Buscetto said, adding that there needs to be more supervision at the Parade. He said city officials know who is abusing the fountain and the Parade area.
“Let’s call them frequent flyers,” he said, referring to a group of people who routinely hang out on the benches on the Parade.June 7, 2011 at 11:36 pm #162384Dennis J. Jarrard, PLA, CLARBParticipant
I would bet the same is true for the Millenium Park fountain in Chicago. It’s a very popular attraction and on hot scorching days like today I would bet the place is packed with adults and kids.June 8, 2011 at 10:08 am #162383Terry SmithParticipant
This is very sad….In my state, the Illinois Department of Public Health regulates these types of fountains as if they were swimming pools; i.e., requiring the same level of water purification, enclosures, etc. They (IDPH) supposedly had a tizzie over the Millenium Park fountain, but in the end, I do not think that much was changed regarding the fountains design.June 8, 2011 at 12:58 pm #162382
Reminds me of a paper I did in grad school about suvbversive uses of the landscape. One point I argued is that a designer can never know, or plan for, all the end users of a work of landscape design. At the time I was exploring gender politics as they specifically relate to gay men. UVA had a colloquium series on queer studies, Aaron Betsky had just published Queer Space: Architecture and Same Sex Desire and my studio project with Beth Meyer was a bathhouse…the stars aligned I guess…LOL. Julie Bargeman even took us to a noted public park used as a cruising grounds for gay men. When we noted that there were so many men waiting in cars at the park Julie responded “Look….the landscape is so poorly designed they are afraid to get out of their cars.” She was serious…and oh so very clueless (which proved an argument in my paper actually). In the end, the paper developed into a discussion about public sex and how it can be viewed as an act of political protest and rebellion. Such an act charges a space with meaning and memory. These spaces become monuments to “the other”…”the outsider”….”the outlaw”…”the profain”. As such they help develop specialized and personal world views and identities. You are either included, or you are excluded (and this applies to both the majority user and the minority user).
While my example was meant to titilate and provoke (surprising for me I know), and was part of my own coming out process, other groups were exploring their identites and how they are tied to the built environment. Craig Barton in the Architecture Department was exploring the black experience in the United States. Given restrictions on the number of blacks gathering in one place at one time in the historic south (for fear of violence and uprising), churches and street spaces became important meeting grounds and took on important spatial configurations. Daphne Spain in the Architectural History Department was studying the space of women in early American homes (kitchen spaces in indigenous and colonial dwellings) and how those spaces developed through the minority experience.
Now my initial comments might sound like a digression, but I would argue that the acts described may speak to the plight of the homeless or mentally disturbed. I was delighted to hear Laurie Olin speak about a project in New York (Columbus Circle). When asked how he dealt with the “problem” of homeless people – particularly the “problem” of homeless people sleeping on gorgeously designed park benches – Olin basically replied “Look, they are our clients too. If we claim, as a profession, that we are making the world a better place through thoughtful design we need to account for and design for them.” (I paraphrase)
Perhaps the deliciously subverssive acts occuring in New London have a deeper meaning…or maybe the Parade just needs more public restrooms, safe places for people to shower and a first aid station (I mean really…Really?…People are getting cut and washing wounds out in a public fountain?…What is this gang land USA?…LOL)June 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm #162381
After looking at some additional images of the landscape in question, I wonder if using the fountain as a toilet was just a criticism by an end user. The landscape is mind-numbingly uninspired.June 8, 2011 at 3:09 pm #162380
I know that them fountains in Millennium Park (they are named the Crown fountain) are specifically designed for the interaction that takes place there. You can see some of the system through the glass block. It is designed to water-park standards of filtration and sterilization (in this case, chlorine) with an automated system for monitoring and control. The fountain in the article…not sure…can’t find anything on it. You’d be surprised (maybe not) how many fountains where people have access to the water are not adequately filtered or sterilized. Even the spray grounds you see in parks…many are hooked up straight to municipal water, usually held in a reserve tank. These systems cannot be cleaned easily, and due to the intermittent nature of their operation and with the low residual amounts of chlorine reaching the nozzles (if your public water is indeed chlorinated), stuff can grow on them very easily.June 8, 2011 at 3:36 pm #162379
I don’t recall seeing any landscape whatsoever…June 8, 2011 at 3:39 pm #162378
Do you mean plants?
…in that respect the plaza appears totally barren. It’s a shame because I used to be in that plaza quite often. While the previous design seemed seperated from it’s context yet softened by plants, the current design seems cold and off-putting.June 8, 2011 at 6:51 pm #162377
There is a very cool fountain at the nursery I worked at this spring. Picture a 5′ half sphere, flat/dish side up, nested in a cube base. Water fills the dish, rolls over the edge, clings to the sphere and disappears into a gap between the sphere and cube.
Short story long, kids and adults alike can’t resist touching the water as it rolls down the side of the sphere despite the obvious presence of bird-crap on the rim of the fountain. In my eyes, it clearly doubles as a bird bath and is not a good place to rinse your hands. I guess some people are just oblivious… like those in India and Africa brushing their teeth and bathing down stream from ladies doing laundry, people defecating and corpses floating down river… so it goes…
As for the homeless issue; after living in Laguna Beach for 2+ years I’ve observed that if you accommodate them, they will take over. The focal gathering area at Main Beach is over run with homeless people. It completely drives away tourists and residents alike because it feels unsafe. Every bench is occupied and the bushes have their stuff stashed in them. It destroys the plantings and creates an unsafe environment. I don’t know about you but that is not the kind of park I want in a community where the average house is $2+ mil.
Sorry to disagree with Olin but the homeless are not your clients. The tax payers are your clients and it is our job to design for them. They should feel safe and welcome in the spaces that their tax dollars pay to create.June 8, 2011 at 6:57 pm #162376
I suggest reading Holy Shit: Managing Manure To Save Mankind and I hope you never end up homeless.June 8, 2011 at 7:48 pm #162375
Thats why I never give money to panhandlers…you become an enabler, usually to a substance abuse problem. You really are just encouraging destructive anti-societal behaviour. I can agree somewhat with what Olin, but you have to handle it in a manner like Walter Hood did in Oakland. You can design a space for them to use such as places to hang out during the day where they can be comfortable and have access to restrooms and potable water. However, you cannot allow them to take residence in public places.
Worst example I can think of is Independence National Park in Philadelphia. It was redesigned a number of years ago as it was just a mass of neglected space inhabited completely by homeless who lived behind the shhrubberies that surrounded much of the park. It was also a high drug trade area. So, they spent millions redesigning the area to clean it up and make it more tolerable for tourists, and when I visited, there were homeless residing in the gardens off the path (not just sitting there), one dude was sleeping in the middle of one of the main brick sidewalks with busloads of kids having to walk around him, and another dude getting sick all over the place. Really nice to see. I know they have a big homeless problem in Philly, but that is because it party is tolerated, if not encouraged, just like San Fran. In DC, you dare not go into the many squares off the Mall as you are pretty much accosted for money…so much so that many places have removed the benches that were outside of their entrances, such as the National Building Museum. DC actually pays to bus homeless people back to where they came from or to family members to get them out of the city. Most of these are mentally ill persons who came to the government center (and because they were booted out of treatment facilites because of the wholesale destruction of mental health facilities in this country). Its sad, really.June 9, 2011 at 5:18 pm #162374Les BallardParticipant
What happened to survival of the fittest? Nanny state is wrong, smacking gently little children who go near the water is good and zapping with a tazer all polluters is fine – in fact, 10,000 volts in a capacitor activated by a wire mesh on the bottom of the pool would be fine. You just load the dead winos on a cart each morning and turn the power off for the busy part of the day.. It wouldn’t take many mornings to have zero winos. I have my tongue in my cheek but am not sure it is very far in.June 9, 2011 at 7:24 pm #162373
Thank you. I hope I never end up homeless also… it’s certainly not outside of the realm of possibilities (considering the economy and my choice of profession) but I still wouldn’t expect people to design parks for my needs as a homeless person. Given the opportunity, I would definitely bath under the whale tail though. Who wouldn’t want to use that thing as a shower every morning!? I want one in my bathroom…June 9, 2011 at 7:30 pm #162372
Yeah, Irvine California has virtually no homeless because they don’t tolerate them. Laguna Beach, an arguably nicer area 10 minutes away, feeds and shelters the homeless and has a serious problem with drugs, theft and violence. Coincidence? I think not.June 9, 2011 at 8:57 pm #162371Trace OneParticipant
wow..what a heartless bunch..there but for the grace of god go I, as far as I am concerned – we could all be homeless with a small turn of fate…JK Rowlings was homeless…
I always give money to every homeless person I see, and have many experiences and stories about giving to homeless – they often don’t want your help..I also designed shelters for homeless, one based around the shopping cart, that Tanya showed me had been detailed by someone else..
this whale/poop story is really weird – more info is required..Why doesn’t the Trevi fountain in Rome have that problem? Or really any other fountain I have ever looked at or thought about..
but man, it certainly brought out the intolerant nazi in a lot of you.. Perhaps it is a rorsharch test..How many of you dis the homeless AND go to church on sunday?
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