Zurich makes a splash with rejuvenation of home city landmark

The Aquaretum has featured in countless photos since 1998, when Zurich Insurance Group donated the fountain to its home city to mark the company’s 125th anniversary. More than a year after the original fountain last stirred the water in Lake Zurich, a new Aquaretum with a modern twist is carrying on the tradition.

The original Aquaretum fountain became a landmark in the city of Zurich over the past two decades. Set in Lake Zurich near a popular park and bathing spot, it provided visitors and locals with the perfect backdrop for memorable photos.

But after 22 years of service the fountain reached the end of its life. When experts said it was beyond repair, Zurich offered to replace the landmark fountain with a new Aquaretum. After 18 months of planning and construction, it was unveiled on May 15, 2019.

“We're very proud of our Swiss heritage and our long history in the city of Zurich, and we wanted to continue to give back to the people of Zurich,” said Zurich’s Group Chief Enterprise Services Officer, Erica Arnold.

The new fountain was built by Fischer Architekten AG, the company behind the original fountain in the 1990s. It preserves the familiar traits of the previous city landmark: spherical water jets are mounted on a steel frame that is pushed below the lake’s surface when the fountain is in operation.

While the new Aquaretum may resemble the old fountain, a 21st century update has it tuned to the rhythms of the Earth. It’s the brainchild of Swiss sound artist, Andres Bosshard, and through a connection with the earthquake station at ETH Zurich university, the shape and size of its water arcs are determined by an algorithm that interprets real time data about the Earth’s tremors.

For the chairman of Zurich’s Board of Directors, Michel M. Liès, the renewal of the fountain highlights another deep connection between the company and its home city.

“Just as the city is continuously changing and renewing itself, so is our company. We must both be ready to change,” he said at the unveiling ceremony. “And nothing symbolizes this change better than water, which can take so many different forms.”

Photo courtesy of Gian Paul Lozza / Fischer Architekten AG