Longwood Gardens Renovation Fountain Project
In an unprecedented $90 million renovation, Longwood Gardens is protecting their place in the world of elite water gardens by incorporating an ultra-modern series of fountains that will feature more than 325,000 gallons of water choreographed to dance to music, along with an extensive lighting system and state-of-the-art fire effects to enhance the performance. The new fountains boast 1,719 jets and streams. All of this modernization is hiding inside the historical elegance of the original fountains’ design and appeal. OTL (Outside the Lines) was employed as an expert water feature consultant on this world class project.
Longwood Gardens has long been atop the short list of world’s most amazing water gardens. From 1925 to 1927, Pierre DuPont constructed a water garden in a low-lying, marshy site northeast of Longwood’s Large Lake. The inspiration was the Villa Gamberaia, near Florence, Italy. The original did not have many fountains, but Longwood’s version had 600 jets in nine separate displays that shot from six blue-tiled pools and 12 pedestal basins.
At the same time, Pierre installed a 40-foot-tall jet fountain at the end of the Central Allée in Peirce’s Park. It is said that Mrs. du Pont could turn the fountain on for her house guests with a switch. Pierre next decided to enlarge the Open Air Theatre and replace the old waterworks with 750 illuminated jets that continue to elicit thrills today.
Pierre’s hydraulic masterpiece was the Main Fountain Garden in front of the Conservatory: 10,000 gallons a minute shot as high as 130 feet and illuminated in every imaginable color. Its complex engineering didn’t faze him. “The fountains themselves are of simple design…,” he noted. “It is the landscape effect that adds to the total bill.”
The completion of the fountains in the mid-1930s marked an end to major construction during Pierre’s lifetime, although he did build a 30-by-36-foot oval analemmatic sundial in what is now the Topiary Garden in the late 1930s. The Nightscape Fountain Show has been drawing visitors to the site by the droves since 2014, and now they are going even bigger.
Modernization and new construction has been underway since 2014, with the help of the New Heights Fountain Revitalization Project. It involved using 9000 cubic yards of concrete to build the large storage tanks, four pump rooms, and more than five miles of pipe. In fact, nearly half of the money for the fountain was spent underground where all of the mechanical parts of the show come to life. Construction is wrapping up on the project now, and Grand Opening tickets are already on sale for those who want to experience a whole new kind of artwork in motion.
Guests at Longwood Gardens will also have the unique opportunity to attend fountain choreographing courses for free with general admission and advanced registration.
Make sure you stop by this summer to see the all new Longwood Gardens show fountains and see for yourself what all the buzz is about. For hours and tickets, go here.
PHOTO CREDITS: Daniel Traub
- Team Spotlight: Getting to Know OTL’s Manager of Technical Services, Research & Development Jason Baldwin
- 3 Reasons Why Water Feature Maintenance Requires a Specialist
- Want to Know More About Water Feature Maintenance?
- Diversity Dialogues: Shining Light on Necessary Conversations
- Team Spotlight: Getting to Know OTL’s Superintendent Scott Pease