UPDATE: Bethesda's New Fountain
Federal Realty chats with Patch about the intention behind the fountain's design and a few tweaks they're working on with its misting feature.
Many of our loyal Bethesda Patch readers responded with questions, comments and concerns when we recently posted a poll on the new Bethesda Row fountain.
Since then, we've been able to get some more information from Federal Realty -- Bethesda Row's management company -- about the fountain, which debuted at the iconic gathering spot in front of Bethesda's Barnes and Noble last weekend.
The beloved fountain that previously called the corner home had "outlived its useful, functional life," according to John Tschiderer, vice president of development for Federal Realty. "It had been a great life but was ready to be replaced with a new fountain," Tschiderer said.
The new fountain is an artistic interpretation of the hydrologic cycle, the process by which water moves continuously on, above, and below the surface of the earth in different forms. The fountain's mosaic floor tile is representative of roots, the three spires represent trees, and the free-standing half wall represents earth and flora, Tschiderer said.
The rills that top the wall represent a stream, which trickles down the wall into the symbolic root system and also feeds a circular basin (representative of the great lakes), which pours into a larger, circular pool (representative of the ocean.)
The misting feature, intended to represent clouds, generated some stir among commenters who worried the spray could deter the corner's signature crowds or lead to slippery tile.
“The goal is for it to mist periodically, so it cycles on and off,” Tschiderer said. “We’re working with both the amount of pressure, the number of nozzles, the size of the nozzle heads…those mechanical parts, we’re fine-tuning it to make sure it doesn’t create that kind of negative perception.”
Informational panels depicting the artistic intention behind the fountain are in the works, Tschiderer said.
Tschiderer wouldn't comment on a dollar figure for the project, but he did say it was a private Federal Realty investment.
"It’s good to know that there has been a reaction in general," Andrea Simpson, Federal Realty marketing director. "People care very much about Bethesda Row and the properties we operate and the community embraces it as its own.”
Last weekend's ice cream social to mark the fountain's re-model was canceled due to the weather. It has been re-scheduled to this Saturday from 1-3p.m. and will feature free ice cream from Haagen-Dazs.
If you have yet to weigh in on our poll, we've re-posted it here, so let us know what you think.