Diana Fountain: London's Newest Bust!

Nov 10th, 2004, 04:49 PM
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Diana Fountain: London's Newest Bust!

Add the new Diana Memorial Fountain to the list of embarrasing new things London has built in the past few years. First there was the infamous Millenium Dome, a white elephant that no one can find a viable use for, then the Millenium Bridge, linking the Tate Modern with St Paul's Cathedral. Supposed to twist as folks cross it, it was closed on its first day after pedestrians got frightened at its planned buckle -re-designed not to quiver it's now a hit. Then we have the Eye Over London, the world's highest revolving wheel, again not a smash hit but which when they tried to hoist it into place had to be taken back down for months while it was re-engineered. Now we have Diana's Fountain, so poorly designed from both an aestheic view and practical view that it's periodically closed for safety reasons. Meant as a sliver of water moving through Hyde Park to represent the many moods of Princess Di - sometimes flowing vigorously, sometimes meandering melancholically, it was meant to be interactive, especially for kids who were to traipse gleefully through its water until shortly after opening its bottom was too slippery. Grass clipping and leaves have gummed up the works and a muddy swamp surrounds it. Recently again closed for repair and roped off, critics more compare it to a sewer, due both to looks and foul smell from decomposing matter in it, than a fountain.
What do you think? Like the fountain?
PalQ is offline  
Nov 10th, 2004, 04:51 PM
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No where a mess as the "Big Dig" here!
cigalechanta is online now  
Nov 10th, 2004, 05:37 PM
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Mimi, what is the "Big Dig"? I have never heard of it. Thanks.
LoveItaly is offline  
Nov 10th, 2004, 05:47 PM
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Here in Boston, The Big Dig is a third tunnel to Logan airport and it chanted the center artery from above to below ground, and it went way over budget and
alot of waste, mismanagement, delays, took twenty year and now there have been flooding and leaks and nowq enginers say it was made shoddy,to the tune of
cigalechanta is online now  
Nov 11th, 2004, 02:05 AM
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From all the people here who say they are planning to ride on the "Eye" and the lines of people waiting to ride it last year when I would say it is not exactly a "miss."

I'm sure the owners of the "Eye" are just as embarrassed as they can be each time they head to the bank.
TopMan is offline  
Nov 11th, 2004, 03:00 AM
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Hmmm, whilst the Dome has been a disaster from it's 'use' point of view, it's still an architectural wonder.

And the Millennium Bridge is a beautiful addition to the water, and it no longer wobbles. And everyone loves it.

And what do you have against the London Eye? I don't know a person in London who doesn't love it, and it's been a roaring success, now being copied by various Far Eastern cities.

What IS your problem?
Kate is offline  
Nov 11th, 2004, 03:01 AM
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The Millenium Bridge was nether ment to twist, they had to redesign it to stop it twisting. So it was still an unforseen and expensive problem. The eye not popular - news to me. My problem is if your going to slag things off please get your facts right other wise you just look stupid!
JimSteel is offline  
Nov 11th, 2004, 03:04 AM
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I was in College in Boston when they were talking about it and about to start! How funny it's only done. Madness. The port tunnel is ouw own disater in Dublin made or post trucks to take to get out of the city and stop clogging traffic (Not) they are still overbudget and now the truck makers have increased size so many will not be able to use....they always find a way to screw up big projects...too many cook I say
SiobhanP is offline  
Nov 11th, 2004, 03:05 AM
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Today's First Rant: Another example of how we get way too cute and pay some silly nerd loads of money to produce a dud that nobody had the guts to veto when it was in the design phase.

Why is it so hard to just build an old fashioned fountain that people can actually recognize as a fountain?
degas is offline  
Nov 11th, 2004, 03:23 AM
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I'm rather confused as to why you're bringing this up now; it's been an embarrassment for a long time! Personally I thnk that any money spent glorifying that vain manipulative woman is a waste but who am I to have an opinion...? Although I find it rather ironic that the supposed monument to her is as useless as she was!

However, I beg to differ with regard to your other points. The London Eye is one of London's top three tourist attractions (and I do believe that you've recommended in earlier posts!); the bridge was a bit wobbly to begin with but is now fine; and as for the Dome, it's rather iconic in its own way and will prove very useful in the future.
Tallulah is offline  
Nov 11th, 2004, 04:15 AM
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The Eye opened precisely on time. Like any well-managed engineering project, time was allowed for any problems that might crop up in construction. The adjustments needed took less than a month.

The Dome lies just as forlorn as the detritus from any number of World's Fairs and the like anywhere else in the world. Government-sponsored white elephants are not unique to modern Britain. No useful purpose was ever really found after the event for the building that sparked off all these damnfool stunts - the Crystal Palace, built for the 1851 Hyde Park Exhibition (which, BTW, for all its subsequent fame got fewer visitors than the ghastly Dome). Our Victorian ancestors ruled the world not by avoiding mistakes, but by by not wasting time listening to whingers.

But the really interesting thing about this post is that no similar posts crop up about France's far more inept management of the Bibliotheque Nationale or the Bastille Opera - or about the times the Eurostar gets cancelled because the wrong sort of salt settles on the overhead power lines at Calais.

As for the Diana fountain: attractive on the surface, slippery and deeply flawed. Surely what the architect planned?
flanneruk is offline  
Nov 11th, 2004, 04:27 AM
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There was actually an interesting article about this in the NYT a few days ago:


The article mentions that the design is a Mobius strip. I find that interesting, but I can't confirm it anywhere else. Is that just poetic license? A Mobius strip would have to have one side and one edge -- not clear to me how this could be made into that structure.

By the way, fault or not, Kathryn Gustafson is apparently one of the best landscape artists around. I put her name into Google to see what I can find.

Perhaps there'll be more respect for the memorial with time. I still haven't seen it.

111op is offline  
Nov 11th, 2004, 04:29 AM
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<As for the Diana fountain: attractive on the surface, slippery and deeply flawed. Surely what the architect planned?>

Damn! You put it so much better than I did!
Tallulah is offline  
Nov 11th, 2004, 07:05 AM
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As for my original post i made a typo about the Eye not being a smash hit, i should have re-read better. Yes as in previous posts i think the eye Over London is a great experience, well worth the many bucks to ride it. And let's mention some other things that are great successes - the Tate Modern in a converted power plant on the Thames, the whole South Bank area, a great walking area that at one time was dead, the marvelously re-created Globe Theatre. Don't get me wrong, I love London, but was just having fun.
PalQ is offline  
Nov 11th, 2004, 07:10 AM
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The so-called "Big Dig" here in Boston was actually a number of interlinked but somewhat separate projects, the most discussed of which were the Third Harbor Tunnel and the depression of the Central Artery. While admittedly everything went beyond schedule and over budget, the tunnel has really been a success, substantially reducing the time needed to get to Logan Airport from the west and south while taking a lot of traffic off city streets. The Central Artery depression, on the other hand, turned out to be more problematical than anyone envisioned and based on today's news it does appear to have been poorly constructed to boot. No doubt many lawsuits to follow before the dust settles.
FlyFish is offline  
Nov 11th, 2004, 07:10 AM
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>As for the Diana fountain: attractive on the surface, slippery and deeply flawed. Surely what the architect planned?<

Bravo, flanner.
ira is online now  
Nov 11th, 2004, 07:15 AM
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I visited London in early September of this year. The weather was spectacular, sunny and warm. I walked through Hyde Park on a Sunday afternoon looking for the fountain and realized I had come upon just as a large crowd of people caught my attention. They were all sitting at the edge of the circular fountain, most dipping their feet in the water. There was not an inch of space vacant. Young, old, families, every race and life style was represented. There was such positive energy in the air as everyone enjoyed the fountain. It was an example of "urban planning" at its very best. Such a shame that it only functions on the surface. I overheard a little girl in a pinafore dress ask her father, "So she was the princess Daddy, then why did she die?" And he went on to give her a lovely child friendly explanation of what happened to Princess Diana. Despite her inner warts, she was so very much loved and admired by most Brits, it's a shame they could not come up with an old-fashioned "proper" memorial. I'm afraid the same will happen with World Trade Center project.
sfarah is offline  
Nov 11th, 2004, 07:45 AM
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It's just what Diana would have wanted it to be:

A huge embarrassment to the Royal Family.
m_kingdom2 is offline  
Nov 11th, 2004, 02:58 PM
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Kathryn Gutafson designed a very nice bridge for our local shopping mall. It joins two parts of this plaza and goes over a large busy street so that it is much more pleasant to walk between them now. The mall owner is known for always choosing [he can pay for it, too!] the absolute best in quality. Thankfully, Ms. G. must know more about bridges than "fountains". We didn't allow enough time to see the fountain during our 5 days in London last August, though we were curious.
daph is offline  
Nov 11th, 2004, 03:09 PM
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We walked past it in August.... ugly frost fence around it, the grass had turned into a muddy quagmire, attendants standing around to ensure no one was hurt... it looked horrible.
And I've also heard more than a few comments about how it's such a suitable tribute to Diana (although nothing as apt and witty as flanner's)... like people being able to go in and out of it over and over (reference to her affairs), and how it is suitably empty on the inside.
I saw an article a few months ago about how Kathryn Gistafson had designed another fountain that had similar problems. Can't recall where that fountain was, though.
But why this need to always do something cutting edge, modern and airy-fairy, which always seems to backfire? Why not a regular fountain, the basic design of which has been proven to work?
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