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International Fountain redo

If you stroll the grounds, you’ll find an amazing mix of water features big and small, with the largest, International Fountain, at the core of the campus. Built originally as a centerpiece for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, the initial design concept called for a narrow lagoon with gondolas and a bridge. But two Tokyo-based architects Kazuyuki Matsushita and Hideki Shimizu submitted the winning design, one that sought to reflect “mankind’s efforts to explore the farthest reaches of outer space.” They rejected the old-fashioned decoration in favor of water jets to put the focus on the shape and movement of the water itself. Protruding nozzles and jagged, irregular white rocks surrounding the original silver metal dome were meant to convey a feeling of “lunar landscape.” However, they rendered the fountain unapproachable.   

Three decades later, International Fountain was due for some major updating, and it was essentially rebuilt in 1995 by WET Designs, with landscaping by Kenichi Nakano. The nozzles and rocks were removed, and numerous flat jets were installed on the new stainless steel dome’s surface to allow for greater play and interaction. In this next incarnation, 283 water shooters of various sorts propelled 9,000 gallons of re-circulated water up to 120 feet in the air. Programmed music was added, and a computer system was installed in a vault beneath the fountain floor to control it all.   

25 years later, International Fountain is in need of renewal once again.

The fountain is closed through June 30 for lighting and micro shooters upgrades and fountain bowl re-caulking.

The high-tech control panel that directs the shooters and music will also receive some care. The upgrades, part of a larger effort to stiff up the campus, anticipate the opening of Climate Pledge Arena this fall. The improvements will be complete in time for summer, so stop by in July, check out the changes and splash in the renewed fountain!  

Seattle Center International Fountain

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About Seattle Center: 

Connect to the extraordinary at Seattle Center, an active civic, arts and family gathering place in the core of our region. More than 30 cultural, educational, sports and entertainment organizations that reside on the grounds, together with a broad range of public and community programs, create thousands of events on the 74-acre campus and attract over 12 million visitors each year. At Seattle Center, part of Uptown Arts & Cultural District, our purpose is to create exceptional events, experiences and environments that delight and inspire the human spirit to build stronger communities. Activities at the Center generate $1.864 billion in business activity and $631 million in labor income.