Architecture fail

Rincon Center has this central waterfall in the middle of its huge atrium. For years, there has been a sign next to it saying, and I paraphrase, "Stop whining at us about wasting water, this thing is a part of the building's HVAC system, we're so green."

But now, it's turned off, and there's a new sign that says "No waterfall for you, because drought."

I AM SURROUNDED BY LIES AND I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO BELIEVE!!

Also: this fountain is one of my favorite examples of design not surviving contact with The Enemy. The water lands in this flat circular area that is level with the rest of the floor, pooling only about half an inch deep before draining off at the edges, like a small-scale "infinity pool".

But it's surrounded by sixteen absolutely hideous planters that look completely out of place, and break everything up.

I guarantee those planters weren't a part of the plan. I'm certain that they went in on day two after they realized that 50% of the people passing through the building just blindly walked underneath the waterfall and got soaked.

Which would be the best feature ever. They should have left it alone. That would have never stopped being funny!

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.


Update: Commenters below have found a quote from the designer about this!

"Holy shit," Hollis said out loud. The reaction might have been mistaken for awe over the rain column... But Hollis was stunned by something else. Arrayed around his pool were six clusters of large plants. Worse, much worse, was what was within the pool itself. Perched on black podiums were six dolphins carved out of ice....

Sure, he and Jay Mancini had discussed the need for some sort of barrier around the edge of the pool several times in recent weeks, after at least two people hd walked into the water and fallen while scouring the ceiling with their eyes for the source of the waterfall. Hollis had proposed an unobtrusive, eighteen-inch-high railing. Mancini had said he did not think that would be enough of a barrier.

At one point, Ken Tardy walked over, smiled, and said: "Well, Doug, looks pretty good. How you doing?"

"Well Ken, how did you enjoy drinking my blood?" came the sharp reply.

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16 Responses:

  1. Jim Sweeney says:

    I 100% agree that they should have left the comedy walk-through waterfall as-is.

  2. Tom Lord says:

    The design aesthetic of that space is "imagine how cool this will look after society collapses and all turns to madness and chaos". It's pre-post-apocalyptic chic. It was built entirely for some future warlord, imagined as client.

    • jwz says:

      It is very much 80s Retrofuturism. I love it. The bas relief computer terminals in the mural! And I'm pretty sure that's George Lucas in there.

  3. Nathan Roberts says:

    By "enemy" of course you mean "bunch of oblivious, brainless fucks that we euphemistically call the 'general public'".

    I'm mildly surprised that the result of adding the planters wasn't for people to simply trip over them and land flat on their face. I mean, if you can't see the fucking waterfall right in front of your face, are you really going to notice the planters under your feet?

    You could have a whole ring of traffic cones and police tape surrounding the thing, and people's first impulse would probably be to step over them. And then complain that they got wet.

    You could have a whole line of traffic cones blocking off a steaming pile of crap in the center of a public restroom, and people will just mindlessly step over them, completely oblivious to the fact that there's an enormous fat fuck janitor on his hands and knees on the floor, trying to clean up after somebody that took a shit on the floor. I know. I was the enormous fat fuck janitor.

    Recently at work, the city added a new crosswalk by the back entrance, for people to cross coming from the employee parking lot. And by 'crosswalk', I mean 'signed, blinkey-lighted crossing, complete with median in the middle'. People seem to be having some trouble with it. And by 'some trouble' I don't mean "Oh, I clipped the corner of the median with my rear wheel because I took the turn too tight". I mean, "I CREAMED THE FUCKING SIGNPOST HEAD-ON AND HAD TO GET CARRIED AWAY IN AN AMBULANCE". This has happened at least THREE TIMES. That I'm aware of.

    I mean, for fucks sake people, I know there used to be a left-turn lane there for you to turn into and you still expect it to be there, but how can you miss the fact that there's a FUCKING POLE RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU. It's not even like you even hit it at speed, because you just made a left turn from a goddamn stop sign. You can't be going more than about 5mph, unless you're peeling out of that side street with the pedal to the floor. Of course, the way people drive around here (I.E. like they don't give a fuck whose car they wreck, or who they kill, even if its themselves) I guess they probably did.

    I guess at this point I'm just ranting about stupid people. But that was the whole point of this post in the first place wasn't it?

    • mattyj says:

      I'm glad you got that all out. You can cancel your next two psychologist appointments. We're here to listen.

    • Russell Borogove says:

      It may come as a surprise to you to learn that water is transparent, but plants are opaque.

  4. mattyj says:

    Jesus holy Christ. You are so right.

    https://vimeo.com/4317464

  5. Glaurung says:

    "Stop whining at us about wasting water, this thing is a part of the building's HVAC system, we're so green." But now, it's turned off, and there's a new sign that says "No waterfall for you, because drought." I AM SURROUNDED BY LIES AND I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO BELIEVE!!

    Could be both signs are correct. You have a (cool looking) swamp cooler and an air conditioner. Drought happens, and you resign yourself to higher electricity bills because the word from higher up is "reduce our water usage" which means you turn off the swamp cooler.

  6. Bastiaan says:

    Looking up the origins of the waterfall, I found a book about the construction of the building, and the plants were indeed added as a barrier, which the designer (Douglas Hollis) wasn't really pleased with: https://books.google.ch/books?id=ss2MBdDVxkQC&pg=PA263

    • Pavel Lishin says:

      Every page of that book is just angrily telling me something in German. (As if there were any other way.) Does Google Books do geolocation-based blocking? Is it mad that I'm not in Switzerland?

    • Nate says:

      Nice find. What is so great is that they added the plants before the building was even done:

      ---
      "Holy shit," Hollis said out loud. The reaction might have been mistaken for awe over the rain column... But Hollis was stunned by something else. Arrayed around his pool were six clusters of large plants. Worse, much worse, was what was within the pool itself. Perched on black podiums were six dolphins carved out of ice....

      Sure, he and Jay Mancini had discussed the need for some sort of barrier around the edge of the pool several times in recent weeks, after at least two people hd walked into the water and fallen while scouring the ceiling with their eyes for the source of the waterfall. Hollis had proposed an unobtrusive, eighteen-inch-high railing. Mancini had said he did not think that would be enough of a barrier.

      At one point, Ken Tardy walked over, smiled, and said: "Well, Doug, looks pretty good. How you doing?"

      "Well Ken, how did you enjoy drinking my blood?" came the sharp reply.
      ---

      Pages 263-264 don't show up in that link and it's German because of the .ch

      Try this link in Incognito mode: https://books.google.com/books?id=ss2MBdDVxkQC&pg=PA263#v=onepage&q&f=false

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