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Photo: Public greenery of the city of BrnoPhoto: Public greenery of the city of Brno

Lenka Zemanová  29. 3. 2019

Water stairs cool and invite to refresh

The flowing stairs in the middle of the bustling center of Brno turned the unsightly and overgrown corner into an oasis of calm.

Just a few tens of steps from the busiest part of Brno, the railway station, there is an oasis of tranquility and greenery - Denis Park under the Petrov Cathedral. Those who walk through them in the spring or summer may hear a little boy or girl many times cheerful calling: "Mom, Mom, the stairs are flowing!"

At the same time, a loud, but a soothing stream of water running down the sandstone stairs will surely attract as well. However, it is not a broken pipe or other failure, but one of the most interesting water features in Brno. The impressive spectacle invites pedestrians to walk upstairs or down barefoot on hot summer days to refresh themselves.

The idea was born while listening to a Russian romantic

In the past, this sought-after oasis of calm was only an unsightly overgrown corner. It changed only during one of the last stages of several years of reconstruction of Denis Gardens in 2005. It included the construction of the stairs. Their creator, architect Petr Hrůša, got an idea for an unconventional work while listening to the song Pictures from the exhibition by Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky.

“Many modern fountains are very complicated and therefore demand intensive maintenance. They break down more often. However, the water stairs are relatively simple. The water flows through gravity, collects and filters down the dirt at the bottom, and drives the pump up again.”

Kateřina Novotná, Public Greenery of the City of Brno

Besides, the water from the stairs evaporates much more than conventional fountains. In the winter months, the water element is out of order to prevent damage.

They moisten the air and trap the dust

According to the authors of the Urban Adapt publication, the stairs in Denis Gardens are an example of a small but important water area in the city center, which has, in addition to a significant aesthetic and recreational function, a positive impact on the local microclimate.

According to the providers, one of its biggest advantages is relatively easy maintenance.

“Like greenery, water also greatly affects the city's microclimate: it reduces extreme temperatures during hot days, increases air humidity. Also, elements using jet or falling water purify air from dusty dirt.”

prof. Michal Marek, Director of the CzechGlobe – Global Change Research Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences (GCRI).

Besides the cooling the surrounding area, the stairs also provide a place for leisure for children and adults. After all, a photo of a small boy on these steps won the Healthy Cities international photo competition years ago.

Green Buildings Water in the City 

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