Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain

 

London, United Kingdom | 2004

Opened by HM the Queen in 2004, the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain was one of the most high-profile publicly-funded projects in the UK and has since attracted millions of visitors, won a series of international awards and become one of London’s most popular attractions. 

The design expresses the concept of ‘Reaching out – letting in’, taken from the qualities of the Princess of Wales that were most loved; her inclusiveness and accessibility. The fountain’s sculptural form is integrated into the natural slope of land in London’s Hyde Park and is designed to radiate energy as well as draw people inwards. A popular place for visitors to engage with the water, the fountain has detailed grooves and channels which combine with air jets to animate the water and create different effects such as a 'Chadar Cascade', a 'Swoosh', 'Stepped Cascade', 'Rock and Roll' and a still basin at the bottom. The water source is located at the highest point where water bubbles come up from the base of the fountain. Approximately 100 litres per second of water is pumped up hill from a storage tank in front of the refurbished plant room beside the Serpentine. Dividing at the top, the fountain uses the topography to divert the water downhill in two streams to form a still, reflective basin. Designed and cut using ground-breaking digital technology, the fountain is made from 545 pieces of Cornish granite. The design appears as a light-coloured ring which contrasts with the surrounding meadow area and planting.  

Gustafson Porter + Bowman led the design of the project from competition through to completion, and collaborated with a highly experienced team. This included: Barron Gould / Texxus (Surface texture), Bucknall Austin (Project Management), Geoffrey Osborne Ltd, Ocmis, Willerby Landscapes, Cathedral Works Organisation, S McConnell and Sons, Surface Development Engineering Ltd (surface design), Soil and Land Consultants, Professor David Hardwick, and Shelagh Wakely (As collaborating artist)

The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain pushed the boundaries of landscape design in the United Kingdom and received overwhelming public acclaim since completion. Gustafson Porter + Bowman are proud of the incredible collaborative effort required to deliver one of the most high-profile landscape projects in the world

Is it by chance or design that Kathryn Gustafson and Neil Porter appear to have designed a near perfect metaphor for the life of Diana?

Water ebbs, flows, gushes and chuckles round and around this prescribed oval course of beautifully cut granite slabs, before filtering out to a wider and more receptive world...
— Jonathan Glancey, The Guardian (2004)
 
 
 

Awards

2008    Highly Commended, AIA/UK Chapter Excellence in Design Awards
2007    International Architecture Awards, The Chicago Athenaeum
2006    Natural Stone Award, Stone Federation
2005    Shortlist, Design Week Awards