If you are looking for a quiet oasis (and a lot of water) in downtown Fort Worth Texas, a stroll through the 4-acre Fort Worth Water Gardens designed by architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee should be the first place you look.
Calculated Traveller Mary recently stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel directly across the street and stumbled upon this little gem when she went for a walk in the neighbourhood. Read her article Review: Sheraton Fort Worth Hotel and Spa Texas
Opened in 1974 the Fort Worth Water Gardens consists of a central square and event stage as well as 3 water features that you can walk through and explore. According to the signage onsite “Every minute, 19,000 gallons of water move through the Garden’s 10 miles of pipes and flows past seven miles of retaining walls.”
The architecture is quite chaotic, considering it is built by one of the pioneers of early modern architecture: Philip Johnson. Johnson’s most famous work – the Glass House – seems a complete contrast to the Water Garden, though it continues a connection to the theme of a natural landscape.
The Water Garden itself is a true landscape – and sometimes I wonder how this even got built, considering the risk the various forms take with respect to public safety.
I almost appreciate the fact that no handrails were included – as that would have hindered the overall exploratory feel.
The original intent is clear – create an oasis that transports urban dwellers away from the city, and to a place hidden below the city – a “crater” to explore and engage the body.
The garden takes the form of cracked earth, water seeping and snaking through the massive concrete forms, spraying across the warm concrete but resulting in several waterfalls that only amplify the water’s auditory experience adding to the park.
It’s this chaotic release of nature and its natural flows that results in an almost calm atmosphere – it truly allows for an experience only matched by actually leaving the urban core and finding a far and remote waterfall or river.
The Active Water Pool (photo above) consists of a waterfall with steps. There is a warning sign but as you can see in the photo many people walk down to the bottom platform for a closer view as mentioned previously there are no railings so definitely walk with caution.
The Mountain sits in the middle of the garden and is essentially terraced levels of concrete.
The Aerated Water Pool is full of water spray and mist but it was designed in such a way so that when you walk next to it you don’t get wet. There are 38 special nozzles, which spray 871 gallons of water per minute. Rainbows are a regular occurrence.
The Quiet Water Pool is located in the back of the gardens down a long set of narrow stairs to which water slowly drips down the sides. As you walk down the stairwell there is nothing to indicate what can be found at the bottom.
It isn’t until you turn the final corner at the bottom of the stairs that the large pool appears. With a mirror like surface on the water, its exactly as titled – a quiet, tranquil, secluded pool of water surrounded by trees…
The Fort Worth Water Garden a perfect place to escape and explore the next time you are visiting Fort Worth and is conveniently located next to the Fort Worth Convention Centre.
Fort Worth Water Gardens
1502 Commerce St, Fort Worth, Texas 76102
Open daily from 7 am to 11:30 pm.