Water bodies have been part of traditional architecture for centuries. Gardens in Japan, town plazas in Europe and palace courtyards in India have used water bodies in the form of fountains, lakes and ponds as feature architecture to enhance the visual appeal of the space. In many cases, these water bodies served the purpose of cooling the environment in the summers as well.

Learning from history
As contemporary architects explore this medium to cool new-age constructed spaces naturally, many have taken cues from architectural designs and concepts of the earlier centuries. Initial results of these experiments prove that the structures and sciences of the ancient architects work as well today as they did over a 1000 years ago.

While efforts are on to widen the use of these architectural concepts as eco-friendly green buildings become the norm everywhere, only time will tell how effective the ancient concepts will be in our modern times of skyscrapers and high density urban developments.

Adding aesthetic value to modern spaces
According to architects today, water feature systems add a sublime quality of relaxation and value to any space. The last few decades have seen installation of contemporary indoor water features across all types of structures: ranging from office, lobby, waiting room, conference room, health care facilities, restaurants, homes and any other public or private space that would benefit from the sounds of falling water.

Waterfalls, fountains and softly gurgling streams are perceived as more interesting than just paintings on the walls of a corporate lounge, bringing a touch of life, fluidity and dynamism into an otherwise static area. Designers have perfected these installations to ensure they can be accommodated even in small spaces, with splash kept to the minimum, so carpets and furniture are not in danger of getting moist.

Water-installations for better looking officesThese work well in corporate spaces to create a visual break from the wood, steel and glass feel that is dominant in offices today. The simplicity of the installations available make it possible to have your water-body up and running in just a couple of days if you plan it well.

No stress on water resources
Most of these installations use a fixed quantity of water, and for outdoor features that are comparatively larger in area and visibility, recycled water is usually used.

The last few years have seen several architects experiment with water bodies: using them for passive cooling, beautifying spaces and to add an element of visual movement to rigid concrete and metal structures. In the showcase that follows, you will find several uses of water in contemporary architecture, all with an eye on the green and lowered energy consumption factor. Definitely lots to pick from, if you are working on a project of this nature.