Creativity in the Bayou City

Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls—Just Head Over to the Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park

Bridal parties, prom-goers, quinceañera celebrators, newly engaged couples, and more have all posed in front of Houston's iconic fountain.

By Emma Schkloven February 5, 2021 Published in the December 2020 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Image: Amy Kinkead

In the immortal (almost) words of TLC: Don’t go chasing waterwalls. Seriously, the gem at the center of Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park has been there since the ’80s—and it isn’t going anywhere. Houstonians and out of towners alike have spent almost four decades watching sheets of water rain down the horseshoe-shaped fountain’s 64-foot sculptural walls. That height’s no accident, by the way. The number was specifically chosen by internationally acclaimed architectural team John Burgee and Philip Johnson as a reference to the 64 stories of the Williams Tower (then dubbed the Transco Tower). Both were commissioned by real estate magnate Hines as part of the development adjacent to his nearby creation, the Galleria. (Hines, who passed away in 2020, was nothing if not savvy about aesthetic values in his crown jewel of a development.)

According to the architects, the Waterwall recirculates 11,000 gallons of water per minute. The postmodernist design also references those of ancient theaters with its Roman-style arches. This marriage of art and architecture has made the Uptown District fountain one of Houston’s most prominent photo-ops for years now. Weddings, parties, prom-goers, quinceañera celebrators, newly engaged couples—they’ve all posed in front of that urban waterfall. And you can see the proof all over Instagram.

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