Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Jet d'eau

This jet of water is in all the Geneva-related things: guidebooks, postcards, websites... But seeing it in person is a different story. It's just utterly beautiful and awe-inspiring! (Duh...)

It all started in 1886 when a hydraulic plant at La Coulouvrenière put up a simple security valve to control excess pressure. In July 1891, the city of Geneva decided to move it into the harbor and make it a tourist attraction. Over the years, Jet d'eau has become a truly striking symbol of Geneva.
Original Jet d'eau in 1886

It took me quite a while to figure out how to describe my feelings with words. What amazed me the most is the unity of opposite qualities. Jet d'eau shows an ambitious yet humble city with a bold but subtle gesture. It is simple because there's no flashy swaying or musical rhythms. But it renders a powerful image with its sheer height, volume, and speed. It's also a perfect balance between the man-made and nature. It animates the harbor with sophisticated engineering, utilizing its own essential element - water. It is definitely one of the best example of urban editing I've seen.

Basic technical facts:
Maximum height: 140 m
Water velocity on exit: 200 km/h
Pump rate: 500 litres/sec
Total power of the two pumps: 1000 kW


No comments: