The old railway station building and its surroundings were remodeled to create a modern and attractive theme park dedicated to the railroad. Inside the complex there is the country’s largest railroad museum. To beautify the park and gardens a set of architectural fountains were installed as well as a large Aquatic Ballet that is a major attraction for visitors who can enjoy a spectacular show of water, light and sound.
The Aquatic Ballet for Plaza de las Tres Centurias was the first of many waterscaping projects developed by Lumiartecnia Internacional in Mexico.
Lumiartecnia Internacional worked for many years in Mexico, opening the market for high technology fountains, creating many extraordinary and challenging projects all over the country. In future posts we’ll introduce, one by one, some of these big fountain installations.
Tres Centurias Park is located in the city of Aguascalientes, in the state of Aguascalientes, in Mexico.
With an area of more than twelve acres, Tres Centurias Park contains inside the old Train Station and Railway Museum, educational spaces, recreational areas, entertainment family life areas and a civic square with a monumental 60 m. flagpole.
The old train station building was begun in 1910 and opened in 1911, designed by the Italian engineer GM Buzzo. Built with California’s colonial style but also having elements of Hispanic influence.
This building is a clear example of railroad architecture which used a series of prefabricated building materials. The picture of this quaint little Terminal fits perfectly with the image of happy and cheerful province that still preserves Aguascalientes.
Aguascalientes was once the largest hub in the railway system in Mexico and the largest workshop place and warehouse complex in Latin America. The museum consists of two buildings (old warehouse and old docking station) and wagons.
The warehouse exhibits the railroad history in Aguascalientes: the working class wars, the garage, the Mexican Revolution, the first trains, the history of the locomotive engine No. 40 at the opening of the workshop, derailments, and the origins of the railway.
For the beautification of the different areas along the park, six sets of architectural fountains were installed, each one with a special meaning and symbolism for the different areas of the gardens, squares and monuments.
At the entrance to the exhibition a singular fountain with water jets represents the three centuries that give name to the park.
At the southern entrance of the park there is a very original monument, a train machine whose presence indicates the end of a unique era, that of moving trains from steam. It is not any machine, it is “La Hidrocálida” or “La Burrita”, which enjoyed great fame and prestige, and in high demand by those who need to travel between Aguascalientes and Irapuato.
“La Hidrocálida” is surrounded by a reflecting pool where there are three different architectural fountains.
In the front there is a fountain with water mists and parabolic jets creating a spray cloud with the colors of the Mexican Flag at night, symbolizing the importance of the railroad in the history of México.
“La Burrita” is a Hudson 4-6-4, made by the Americans in the U.S. in 1937. Seventy years later, the park visitors can see it from “inside and out, brilliant.” In front of the machine there is a plaque indicating the date of the monument and the commemoration of the age of steam. From the generation of 2708, such is the number of “La Burrita”, were only 12 copies which arrived in Mexico in the late ’30s. “La Burrita” ceased operations in 1964 and six years later, was put on the pedestal that it is now.
At the back of “La Hidrocálida” there are two sets of fountains: a group of 22 gusher jets in parallel lines and a 12 m high geyser.
The gusher jets of water represent the railroad tracks and the trail that leaves behind the locomotive when moving towards the horizon, giving the impression that “La Burrita” is still in motion.
The water geyser is located at the end of the reflecting pool, in a circular pond representing a hot water spring flowing with a large vertical water jet, reaching a maximum height of 12 meters, controlled by a wind sensor to adjust its height depending on the wind force and preventing water to be spilled outside the pond.
The architects transformed old railroad items, such as wagons, rails, tools, wagon wheels, etc. into an original street furniture such as public benches, planters and streetlights, creating an ideal setting to introduce visitors to the railway world.
Continuing the way into the garden, there are two parallel rows of rectangular ponds containing circular cups, interconnected to each other by two identical square ponds, creating an ornamental and playful water element through which visitors enter the station area and the museum.
The circular ponds represent the 16 hot springs that gave rise and fame to the region and city of the same name. Aguascalientes means literally “hot water” or “hot springs”.
A water jet jumps from pond to pond, starting from closest to “La Hidrocálida” and ending at the nearest to the train station, creating a fun game that raises the expectation of the visitors who await the right time to pass under the water jet jumping over their heads.
In front of the old station, placed inside the historic rectangular pond dating from the same era as the station, is located one of the park’s main attractions: The Aquatic Ballet or “Dancing Waters” (Fuentes Danzarinas), as they are popularly known in the city.
The “Dancing Fountains”, a colorful light and sound technology brought from Europe by Lumiartecnia Internacional, is an unparalleled spectacle framed by the beautiful old station garden, a traditional and magical place that transports us back in time, with its benches making allusion to ancient traders and businesses of the golden age of rail.
The fast response submersible solenoid valves LI-1050 and LI-1055, opening and closing in less than a split second, allow amazing water displays of spectacular plastic beauty.
During the day, the Aquatic Ballet works as a high technology fountain, performing evolutions with the water jets, displaying a wide variety of water shapes: sprays, dome jets, fan jets , tower, vertical jets, etc.
The fountain jets cover a length of 30 meters, a width of 10 meters, reaching spectacular heights of 15 meters.
Lumiartecnia’s Aquatic Ballet is a state-of-the-art technology in the field of musical fountains and water display shows. Different musical fountain systems and cybernetic fountains made by other companies throughout the world, have reached a quite acceptable degree of music-water correspondence, but the full integration of colour light in a water display choreography, being this the most complex parameter to handle with, it’s only been fulfilled by Lumiartecnia Internacional, creating a spectacular water-colour-music show.
At night, the Aquatic Ballet unfolds its many colored lights, magically illuminating the water jets that conform the fountain.
Controlidor Software controls the fountain evolutions and operation modes. At night the Aquatic Ballet dances automatically at the rythm of the music or in perfect synchronization while interpreting the choreographies performed by fountain artists.
Controlidor Omnicolour software is the result of a vast investigation about color, regarding many points of view: musicians, physicist, painters, architects, choreographers, etc. Combining all these different views, technical and artistically, the outcome is a completely new and revolutionary approach to colour and the way of handling colour in dynamic compositions and scenes where music and water come together.
In the Plaza of Three Centuries you will admire the Monumental Clock which was built in honor of the former Roundhouse that was in the old railway workshops, where it was built the first Mexican locomotive named “La número cuarenta” that is the “number forty”, in the year 1913.
Beautiful sculptures recreating scenes of the old railroad days are found along the visit to the park.
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