Aquaretum Fountain, Zurich

Fischer Architekten AG Zürich, Aquaretum, Hafen Enge

In spring of 2019 the Aquaretum Fountain at Hafen Enge, a much-loved symbol of the city of Zurich, was given a new look. At the same location as its technically outdated predecessor, the new composition by Zurich sound artist Andres Bosshard gives the rhythms of the city a face. Under the leadership of Fischer Architects an interdisciplinary team of specialists planned and implemented this project that is positioned at the interface of art and architecture.

In a first phase Fischer Architekten defined the extent of the intervention with the client and called on the services of artist Andres Bosshard to develop the concept. For the technical implementation the knowledge of established specialists was combined and taken through an iterative development process. Unique components were tested in workshops, using models the concept was examined, and its implementation was continuously developed through a process of exchange.

The fountain consists of twelve spherical stainless steel water nozzles that float on the surface of the lake and are arranged in four groups of three to form a circle. The nozzles, which are tilted towards the centre of the circle, spray glass-clear laminar jets in three different heights to a maximum of 35 metres. As they fall back to the lake the jets form closed arches of water that seem to be woven together into domes, creating a kind of spatial vault.

This water sculpture that evokes Gothic architecture constantly changes its appearance. This is caused by real time signals of seismic activity recorded by the Swiss Earthquake Service of the ETH Zurich. The pulsating of the Earth produces the rhythm of the fountain. Local tremors and distant earth movements are made directly legible. The Aquaretum also adapts its dimensions to meteorological conditions.

When dusk approaches a special kind of lighting augments the choreography of this water feature. Thanks to special lights in the spherical nozzles the laminar jets of water phosphorize from inside outwards. Additional economical LED spotlights that are focussed on the higher areas clearly show the water arches. On public holidays and celebrations colour is used to produce a special accent.

Mythenquai, Hafen Enge, 8002 Zurich, Switzerland
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Task Overall management, planning and realisation of the redesigned fountain
Job type Consultant selection procedure
Deliverables Feasibility study, project, tender, implementation project, general planning
Time period 2017–2019
Challenge Understanding a fountain architecturally
Gian Paul Lozza / David Fuchs, Michael Roggon (Metallatelier)