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Great ideas gush forth in drinking fountain challenge

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Did the AJ know what it would get when it asked six great architects to design ceramic drinking fountains for London’s public realm?

No, not really. We knew they’d be good – but witty, provocative and stylish as well? That would be too much to ask for, surely? Yet that’s exactly what we got.

Take Adam Architecture’s tomb-like design and its Latin inscription warning against global warming. Or Studio Weave, which cleverly remixed the age-old pantile to create a ‘watering pole’. Or AHMM’s utilitarian design, more like a fire hydrant than anything else, with a built-in drinking bowl for passing dogs.

Hopkins created a triumphant umbrella-like gathering point, with curves inspired by the ceramic-tiled corridors of London’s underground stations. Zaha Hadid Architects proposed a looping structure, which recycled rainwater in spectacular fashion. And Eric Parry Architects referenced the Turkish kiosk, to create a new type of utility with genuine historical depth.

No wonder the BBC, the Evening Standard, and Dezeen went mad for these designs: they’re clever, useful and good-looking too. And, as Thames Water has said, not so tricky to build. Please, go ahead: we won’t stand in your way!


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