Waterscapes: Dissertation

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  • Topic: Water, Fountain, Musical fountain
  • Pages : 20 (7386 words )
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  • Published : June 28, 2011
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Colins dictionary defines waterscape as a picture, view, or representation of a body of water. But in architectural terms waterscape may be defined as the built environment designed to enhance the effect of water contained or represented within it.


The origin of water usage in a large scale in gardens can be traced back to over-hanging or cantilever Gardens of Babylon where water was transported to each terrace by the help of water wheels. In Egypt water handling instruments like Shaduf , water clocks and Egyptian water wheel or Noria started being used. In nature water seems to go through three distinct phases. Firstly it is wild in small carefree rivulets which have been created out of springs and surface channels and in which in due time unite to become a river. Secondly, it is captured and put to labour in irrigation channels reservoirs and buildings of all kinds. Thirdly the shapes formed not only in natural movement but those of captivity have inspired man to fashion water as a work of art. It is probable that the inspiration of natural movement culminated in Bermini’s fountain in Rome and that of water in captivity is the Persian paradise garden. The Persian paradise garden, evolving over a long period as was an Oasis in the desert. The channels of water became symbols, and surface of water was aerated and kept in movement by low fountains. The first Persian garden is the Pasagarde’s garden where Char Bagh concept of Paradise garden was used for the first time. Here the streams represent four rivers culminating in the pavilion. The Chinese gardens were basically Imperial in nature i.e. in the form of summer lake palaces of the kings where huge water bodies or lakes were present. It is not until we came to Italy in Renaissance that we meet the full glory of the fountains and this was no doubt due to the difficulty in Mesopotamia of not merely acquiring water but of giving it a sufficient spray to give a fountain display. The Greeks took little interest in water design as they were never for off from the dramatic seacoast. On the other hand Romans developed a passion for water mainly for their urge for sensual material pleasures. They built great baths and to supply these brought water from the surrounding hills through aqueducts. Romans also built a bath in the courtyard within their homes for private use. It was in 622 A.D. that the flight of Mohammed from Mecca to Medina took place. In short time, the Muslims were carrying their faith and water designs eastwards to India and westward to Spain. The essential characteristics of water to the Arab were in fact it’s rarity. It was a precious element that needed to be used for ablutions and for irrigation because life itself depended on it, water entered their religion. Hence water was the essential ingredient of the Islamic garden. In Persia it was brought, the garden by “Quanat” from acquifiers located at the base of snow covered mountain ranges. Water flowed by gravity in underground pipes and flooded the channels and tanks around which the garden was organized and served as the irrigation system for the trees and plants. The water would then flow out of the garden and supply the agricultural and domestic needs of the community. The systems were entirely gravity fed and the gardens ideally and conceptually flat were in fact on a slight gradient. Because of agricultural irrigation origins the water in Char Bagh in later Mughal Gardens is also contained in water carrying channels. In India Mughal gardens became the patrons of beautiful landscape and waterscape elements and their glory cab be witnessed in Taj Mahal, Agra, Nishat Bagh Kashmir, Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi and many other Mughal Gardens. Also stepwells developed in India because of utilitarian purposes in North- West India to draw out water in scant-rainfall areas of Rajasthan and Gujarat. These wells are called as Baori or Baoli in...
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