Williams Waterwall

Williams Waterwall

The Williams Waterwall is a multi-story sculptural fountain which sits at the south end of Williams Tower in the Uptown District of Houston. It and its surrounding park were built as an architectural amenity to the adjacent tower. Both the fountain and tower were designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect Philip Johnson.

Construction of the Williams Waterwall

Philip Johnson and John Burgee, in coordination with developer Gerald D. Hines began working on the Transco Tower complex in 1982, and completed construction 18 months later in 1983. The Waterwall was fully and regularly operational in 1985. [" [http://houston.bizjournals.com/houston/stories/2008/03/24/daily20.html Hines to pay $271M for Williams Tower] ," 3/25/08 (Houston Business Journal)]

Construction and maintenance cost figures were never released, but at the time of completion, Johnson and Hines made public vital statistics about the wall, including measurements and water volume. [Spies, Michael, "Water Sculpture Makes Big Splash," 7/25/85 (Houston Chronicle)]

Physical attributes of the wall

Johnson's design for the water wall was to be a "horseshoe of rushing water" opposite of the Transco (now Williams) Tower. The semi-circular fountain is convert|64|ft|m tall, to symbolize the 64 stories of the tower, and sits among 118 Texas live oak trees. The concave portion of the circle — which faces north toward the tower — is fronted by a "proscenium arch" shorter than the fountain itself. The convex portion, its backside, faces south onto Hidalgo Street. [Johnson, Philip. " [http://www.pjar.com/pdf/Transco_Tower_and_%20Park.pdf Transco Tower and Park] ."]

Water cascades in vast channeled sheets from the narrower top rim of the circle to the wider base below, both on the convex side and on the rear side. This creates a visually striking urban waterfall that can be viewed not only from various buildings around the district, but adjacent freeways as well.

46,500 square feet of water cover the interior, while convert|35000|sqft|m2 cover the exterior. The main building material of the fountain is St. Joe brick. However, the Romanesque arches are made of Indiana Buss limestone, while the wall's base is black granite. The entire fountain's water supply, consisting of 78,500 gallons is recycled by an internal mechanism every three hours and two minutes. [Spies, Michael.]

Waterwall lore

Known simply as "The Waterwall" or even still as the "Transco Waterwall" to locals, the fountain is a popular backdrop for tourists and locals alike. Though located outside of the Loop, the Waterwall is considered a central part of the Houston landscape and is often host to picnics and concerts.

In 1987, former Oiler quarterback Dan Pastorini married Dena Kindred at a private ceremony at the wall. 40 people attended the ceremony, which was held during the night on September 23. [Mesinger, Maxine. "Pastorini, Kindred wed at the Wall," 9/24/87. (Houston Chronicle)]

Though the Waterwall technically sits on private property, only open to the public daily from 10AM to 10PM, it is often touted as a popular tourist spot, and was an 'official sight' during the 1992 Republican National Convention. ["When the Pace Gets Rough Houstonians Hit the Wall," 8/13/92. (Houston Post)]

In 2001, the made-for-TV movie The Way She Moves was filmed in Houston and contained scenes shot in front of the Waterwall. ["Filmed in Houston," 8/26/01. (Houston Chronicle)]


External links

* [http://www.hines.com/property/detail.aspx?id=264 Hines Properties - Williams Tower]

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