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Encircled Stream Fountain
Encircled Stream Fountain

Ned Kahn
1995

Founder's Court between Cornish Playhouse and Exhibition Hall

Ned Kahn's vortex fountain is shaped into a granite and black anodized aluminum dish into which jets of water are released and recirculate. The water draining through an off-set drain creates a series of oscillating rhythms and patterns in the central whirlpool.

"Encircled Stream evolved as a metaphor for the countless cycles of floods that have sculpted Western Washington's terrain over eons, as well as an allusion to the diverse currents of people that passed in the last few centuries over the land we now call Seattle. 'Encircled Stream' is formed by water emerging from beneath a ring of granite blocks and flowing into a shallow dish, creating a large whirlpool. As the water drains, the vortex becomes calm and orderly until its surface is as smooth as glass. Then, intricate surface waves spiral in and out of the center of the whirlpool and the entire vortex begins slowly to oscillate, revolving around the drain. The oscillations grow with each revolution until the vortex is so unstable that it breaks away from the drain and a new vortex forms. ‘Encircled Stream' does not announce itself as most fountains do; it will be a discovery, a surprise, much like coming across a hidden spring in the wilderness. My hope is that the inward spiraling of water and the gentle sounds invite contemplation and observation."

Encircled Stream was funded by Seattle Center Levy 1% for Art, Water Department 1% for Art and construction funds.

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