Longwood Main Fountain Garden

Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, USA

West 8’s work on Longwood’s Main Fountain Garden builds upon Longwood’s first-ever physical master plan, which was completed by West 8 in 2011.

“New Heights: The Fountain Revitalization Project,” replaced the 83-year-old fountains’ infrastructure with the latest technology, improved guest access to the Garden, and added innovative new elements that honor the visionary original design by Longwood Gardens founder Pierre S. du Pont.

West 8 was responsible for the design of the garden’s public spaces to harmonize with the original design, the enhancement of the Main Fountain Garden’s horticultural elements and the creation of new gardens that will provide new amenities for Longwood’s guests. The new public spaces have achieve a renaissance for the Garden while retaining its identity as recognizably “Longwood.”

Within the context of the master plan, which aims to transform Longwood Gardens into one of the Great Gardens of the World, the Main Fountain Garden has become the first and most dramatic encounter in the 1,077 acres of gardens at Longwood.

Creating a new model for how interdisciplinary projects such as these unfold, the revitalization by Beyer Blinder Belle + West 8 + Fluidity includes:
• the complete restoration of 4,000 pieces of carved Italian limestone by specialists throughout the five-acre Garden;
• the total replacement of the fountains’ electric and plumbing infrastructure with 21st-century systems that pump 300,000 gallons of water around 380 fountains, allowing the fountains to run more efficiently and for a significantly longer period of time during the year;
• new water choreography, which include jets that project water 175 feet in the air—45 feet higher than the former capabilities; the jets also allow for more precise control of the water movement to create unique undulating, flexing, spinning effects, and a state of the art flame feature;
• replacement of the fountain lighting system with energy-efficient LED lights, which also allows the water choreography to take on a new range of colors.

The new areas for guests to explore, honoring the spirit of the original design, include:

• the re-opening of the elegant south wall, which has been closed to the public for the last 20 years, containing 20 wall-mounted fountains;
• the Grotto, entered from passageways on either side of the loggia, which lead to a vaulted central hall; at the center will be a circular water curtain wall and oculus that allows natural light to enter the space;
• a trellis bridge connecting to the Fountain Terrace allowing guests to look out over the surrounding gardens;
• new seating areas, including a seat wall along the fountains as well as table and chairs behind the trellis bridge;
• a renovated Pump House lobby, which will showcase the original pumps that powered the Main Fountain Garden from 1931 to 2014;
• an enhanced landscape that includes increased planting, enhanced horticultural displays, and expanded, fully accessible walking areas.

For an indepth overview of the New Heights Fountain Revitalization Project click here

Here is also Architectural Record’s article on Longwood Garden by Suzanne Stephens.

Photography: Noah Deveraux