January 30, 2017
Longwood Gardens will debut its highly-anticipated Main Garden Fountain on May 27, the Chester County destination announced in a news release.
The two-year, $90 million revitalization project will act as the "crown jewel" of the horticultural grounds, which cover 1,077 acres and attracted a record 1.3 million visitors to Kennett Square in 2016.
"The revitalization of our iconic Main Fountain Garden is the largest project in Longwood's history since the passing of our founder [Pierre du Pont] in 1954 and to share its return with our guests is incredibly exciting," said Longwood Gardens president and CEO Paul B. Redman. "Thanks to the efforts of our amazing and world-renowned design, engineering and historic preservation partners, as well as our most talented and dedicated Longwood team, our legendary Main Fountain Garden is back and more spectacular than ever."
In November, Redman touted the Main Garden Fountain as an experience that "will just blow your mind," promising an array of colorful projections he likened to the concept of "water dancing."
Project highlights include a complete restoration of 4,000 pieces of limestone, new mechanical and electrical infrastructure and a brand new Garden experience known as the Grotto. Guest access will also be improved with the addition of enhanced pathways, a boxwood hedge and new alleés.
"A fountain and garden are living, joyful gifts and the charge of reawakening the Main Fountain Garden at Longwood is an exercise in creativity, thoughtfulness, and responsibility," Redman continued. "It demands respect for how forward-looking the space was in its era and carrying that intent forward to build a magical, innovative, and full sensory experience. It is a place both heralded and unique in the world."
The revitalization project, led by architectural firm Beyer Blinder Belle, is the largest fountain preservation project of its kind in the United States. Landscape architecture has been spearheaded by West 8, while Los Angeles-based Fluidity Design Consultants has provided water feature design and engineering expertise. Lighting and choreography for the Main Garden Fountain will be handled by L'Observatoire International.
No public funding was secured to finance the ambitious project, whose investments have come directly from the New Heights Fountain Revitalization Project.
Additional features of the renovation will include a trellis bridge connecting to the Fountain Terrace, a new Pump House lobby with historical displays, a reopened south wall with 20 fountains and new seating areas for visitors.
An interactive website with detailed views and descriptions of the project can be accessed here.