Fort Worth Water Garden - photos by Susan Kline and Brian Luesner

Fort Worth Water Garden - photos by Susan Kline and Brian Luesner

Tour Z: Fort Worth Water Garden


2.00 HSW
2.00 LUH


Saturday, November 9, 2013
11:15 am - 1:15 pm
Class Code: 120

Room / Location

Room 104 / Convention Center First Floor


Early: $50.00 Advanced: $50.00 Full: $50.00

Sponsored By

Freese and Nichols - Title Sponsor


Tour Guide: Susan Allen Kline, Historic Preservation Consultant

Through this tour, participants will be introduced to Philip Johnson’s masterful urban park through the architect’s own words as well as a site visit that will provide an unforgettable sensory experience. It will include a discussion of the park’s evolution and modifications that were made to address serious defects and safety issues while preserving its historic and character-defining features.

The Fort Worth Water Garden was a gift to the City of Fort Worth from the late Ruth Carter Stevenson and the Amon Carter Foundation. Dedicated in 1974, the 4.3 acre urban park was sculpted from a derelict corner of the city’s downtown just south of the Tarrant County Convention Center. Here Johnson and Burgee created pebble-studded concrete canyons and a mountain formed through geometric outcroppings, as well as a central plaza and a lawn. As the name suggests, the park’s varied features are unified by water, whether it be flowing in gentle sheets down sloped walls surrounding  a brilliant blue reflecting pool (the Quiet Pool) , in violent cascades (the Active Pool), or vibrant sprays (the Aerated Pool).  In contrast, the park’s hardscape is softened through thoughtful placement of green spaces, trees and plants.

Words used to describe the park include mesmerizing, dramatic, and playful. A few years after its dedication, architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable declared that the Water Garden was “one of the best urban environments in the world” and in his book, Philip Johnson and Texas architect Frank Welch, FAIA, described its active pool as “a design and psychological tour de force”. In 2008, the Texas Society of Architects bestowed it with a 25-Year Award for its design excellence.

Before the tour, participants will gather in Room 104 to watch “Water Garden,” a 28-minute documentary created by Kenneth Harrison and the Amon Carter Museum in 1985. In the film, Philip Johnson explains his inspiration for the park. Viewers will receive a behind-the-scenes look at the mechanical wizardry that propels the water throughout the park.


2 Tickets per registrant limit
14 Seats remaining

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Thanks to all of the sponsors who are supporting Texas Architects and helping to make this event possible.