Fountain of Life: Its Design and Engineering

Fountain of Life is a landmark that provides enjoyment and pleasure to the eyes for both the residents and visitors of Cathedral City. The fountain was designed by Jennifer Johnson with the help of architect Reuel Young.

The artist and the architect designed the fountain to reflect the history and nature of the city. That purpose is achieved through the features of the fountain specifically with its three central stone columns that are surrounded by sculptures of animals and plants present in the city. There are figures of big horn sheep, lizards, tortoises, fishes, shells, wildflowers, birds and creatures that are found in the city then and now. Each of the sculpted figures accounts for something. For example, the rooster and hen stand for family’s importance in the Anglo and Latino cultures. The sculpture of a Cahuilla basket set in the stone pays tribute to the Cahuilla Indians’ Agua Caliente Band who contributes to children’s safety in the desert.

Contained in the fountain, there is a large scepter-like form that implies Cathedral City’s movement into becoming the monarch of cities in the valley.

But more than the sculpted figures, the theme of the fountain is dominantly showed through its spiral design. This design symbolizes the upward rejuvenation and continuous birth. These two are the main essence of the process being held by Cathedral City in its downtown area. The spiral design is observed in the fountain’s underlying floor, in its large basins, on top of the shade structure and in the sheep’s’ horn.

In terms of the fountain’s engineering, steel rod irons and stone pieces are used. The central columns of the Fountain of Life are built with steel rod irons. That is to help the fountain withstand seismic events. Each of the stone pieces is tied to a concrete cone over a concrete base with a depth of 5 feet by 17’ x 12’. That is further reinforced by anchoring the stone pieces to a concrete pad.

A system of recirculation is applied to the fountain. That means water flow between a surge tank with a capacity of 2,000 gallon and the fountain itself. Two 5.5 horsepower pumps with a capacity of 450 gallons per minute are contained in the tank. These pumps process the water and distribute it to 32 separate fountain features.

The purity of the water is ensured by the water filter and bromine treatment systems. Using them, the calcium content of the water is kept to a minimum level. That is done to avoid lessening the tiles’ brilliance.

When it comes to the lighting system of the fountain, there are three components. There are the low voltage lights, a special 300-watt lights and a fiber optics system comprised of 29 computer operated lights. The low voltage lights are placed on the wooden frames of the fountain that account for its overall lighting. The 300-watt lights are positioned underwater and are responsible for illuminating the bowls. Lastly, the 29 computer operated lights are used for the fountain’s color, brightness and timing.