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Tips of fountain design Part 3/3

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To conclude this section, we will continue with our recommendations on designing architectural fountains and are going to look at the following points:

9.- To ensure proper delivery of water from a fountain nozzle - – i.e. so that the jet coincides with the nozzle axis and therefore reaches its maximum height – it should be fitted with a straight section of pipe before the nozzle or else you need to use an accessory with flat radial blades, known as ‘flow deflectors, that reduces any secondary cross movement of the water flow reaching the nozzle. Read more

Decorative water curtain in the reception of a hotel10.- Natural sound of water: Does the sound of the water produce a pleasant sound or a disturbance where the fountain is located?

This depends on what use the area surrounding the architectural fountain has. A quiet, soft flow of water – in the form of gentle straight, ‘mushroom’ or ‘calyx jet’ shaped water fans, whether continuous or not – or a discreet, staggered dripping sound helps, amongst other pleasant sensations, calm people down and urges them to stop and ponder or turn their attention to the feature with greater zeal.

On the other hand, crashing water jets in wide-open areas – public squares, gardens, outdoor patios or inside shopping malls, etc. – grasp people’s attention because of their magnificent visual appearance and the impact of their sound.

In enclosed areas near offices and houses, the ‘noise’ may be considered a disturbance of the peace and even a nuisance.

11.- Waves: how to avoid waves produced by water jets falling onto into the basin? The standard way is to ‘fence off’ the area where the jets fall with a wall so that the water then runs back softly into the basin.

How to reduce ripples on the water mirror in a basin receiving tilted water jets or fans?  The angle at which the fan enters the water in the bottom pond, should be within the following range::

300 < ß < 900

The closer that angle is to vertical, the less rippling will take place on the surface of the water mirror. If the jets hit the water very ‘horizontally’, they may produce a stationary wave at the point of impact, with an increase in water level just under the point of impact, followed by a decrease further upstream. In the case of a large fountain, a scale model should be used to study this matter.

12.- Consider the possibility of using variable speed pumps (controlled by variable frequency drives). These enable picturesque choreographies to be produced which do not require ‘fast’ changes in jet operation. The higher the power rating of the pumps, the greater the inertia will be at speed changes.

13.- Water jets can be made to come on and off and vary their height advantageously by means of Atmospheric Switching Solenoid-Activated Sequencers. This type of valve is basically an ingenious device that allows you to divert, temporarily and under strict control, part of the water flow from a pipe to the atmosphere. That allows for high frequency actuating – up to 20 cycles per second – thereby modifying the path of the water – either to the atmosphere or to the nozzle - so that very swift changes in jet behavior can be achieved without creating water hammer overloads or variations in pump performance.

14.- How to prevent the spectacle of a waterfall appearing dull due to ‘fading’ or the transformation of the water fan into a series of feeble jets?

    Cascade in an architectural fountain

    The correct way to maintain a steady water fan is to ensure a sufficient flow of water for the height of the fall.

    15.- The use of lighting and music can help to highlight a water feature fountain.

    • Lighting systems for water feature fountains generally comprise the following: lights (underwater lights), color filters, fastening systems for the lights and filters, wiring and a control panel. The latest generation of exterior and underwater lighting for water feature fountains uses LEDs (Light-Emitting Diodes), “optic fiber” and laser beams.
    • Use of dynamic or musical fountains with choreographies that combine water, music and color, and ‘dynamic’ water pattern jets. Keep the speed down to prevent causing damage or a disturbance to users, especially small children.

    16.- Quality of the water in the fountain and water jets. It is important to plan for regular maintenance in order to collect biological debris that might have fallen into the pond (leaves, insects, bird droppings, etc.) and also to provide some kind of water treatment to prevent degradation and the appearance of foul odor. When microorganisms in water proliferate and are sprayed through the nozzles, they can deteriorate the air around an architectural fountain and therefore represent a potential health risk for passers-by and visitors by contact with the skin or respiratory system.

    We hope we have given you an overall view of the things to think about when designing an architectural water feature. In any case, we leave the door open for you to add your own experiences.

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