Climate fountain – Kanaleneiland

The Climate Fountain in Kanaleneiland serves as a multifaceted public space, designed not only to inform residents about climate change but also to provide a cooling respite from urban heat and foster community interaction.

The fountain was developed as part of the large-scale investments in climate adaptation infrastructure for Kanaleneiland. However, these significant public investments are mostly underground and therefore hidden from public view. The question was to design a fountain that could raise awareness and inform the community about the science of climate change and its impact in the neighborhood.

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The fountain is designed as an infinite loop that fills and empties on an hourly cycle. When the fountain fills, it reveals the impact of different intervals of rainfall intensity. The idea is that the metric of rainfall (mm/h) is an increasingly important measure of which people should have tacit knowledge. This public awareness should allow people to have a good sense of what types of downpours will become more normal, when precaution is advised, thereby creating a more resilient community.

Kanaleneiland is one of the most puristically executed modernist urban plans in the Netherlands. Like many other modernist neighborhoods, Kanaleneiland witnessed decades of socioeconomic, cultural, and ethnic struggles. The fountain was developed in collaboration with inhabitants from Kanaleneiland. An interesting finding was that many inhabitants have a cultural background in North Africa and the Mediterranean, wherein heat stress is a common issue. The fountain symbolizes the combination of these traditions of water scarcity with the Dutch tradition of managing the abundance of water. Thereby reflecting the unity and reciprocity between cultures instead of the clashes in the past.


Client:  Gemeente Utrecht

Partners:  Fluid Futures, Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industry, Alix Chauvet

Year: Built 2023/2024

Construction: Rots Maatwerk