Villavicencio, Colombia. Most people are probably not familiar with this city but everyone will know Colombia. This beautiful country is located on the northern edge of South America; the geographic diversity is matched by the people and cultures of its unique regions.
Visitors are sure to find something that suits them from the warm Caribbean coast, dramatic Pacific Ocean, the towering Andes Mountains, to the lush rainforests, mega cities and fertile plains. Unfortunately, most people associate drug lords and cocaine with Colombia but that is their distant past.
Aquascape Inc. was recently approached by a very progressive developer from Villavicencio to design and build a water feature for a new state-of-the-art shopping center known as Primavera Urbana.
I was sold after our very first meeting back in June; not because of the scale of the project, not the exotic location, not even for the money, it's much bigger than that. The reason that we're the right fit with them is due to their philosophy of melding a modern shopping center with a nature experience.
It may sound simple but in order to pull this off, the design and layout of the shopping mall needs to be meticulously intertwined with the outdoor spaces allowing natural light to permeate throughout. Pockets of lush vegetation and towering palm trees will flow from the entryway through the many corridors, leading visitors to a majestic vista where they'll be immersed in the Colombian Rainforest.
An existing stream corridor has been preserved on the project site and will be enhanced by sculpting the earth to create a miniature version of the surrounding terrain. A mountainside will be recreated using hand-selected boulders that have been harvested from the adjacent foothills of the Andes Mountains. More than 2,500 tons of stone is needed to create the desired effect using a mixture of stones ranging from 5 lbs. up to 50,000 lbs.!
Harvesting, moving and staging all of this stone for the project will be a logistical nightmare. The water feature starts on the edge of the existing jungle and will spill right through the heart of the shopping center. Visitors will be able to shop, eat, drink, and relax with the sights and sounds of dramatic waterfalls filling the courtyard with an aquatic symphony.
This ecosystem style water feature will be filled with unique aquatic vegetation and native fishes. Arapaima and Arowanas will be the main inhabitants; no koi for this project as these fish will dominate the pond!
A series of terraces and walkways will follow the shoreline for a variety of viewing angles while bridges and stepping stones bring viewers to the water’s edge and beyond, as getting your feet wet is encouraged for those seeking the full experience.
A small meandering pathway will lead adventurers through the gardens to encounter a suspension bridge that takes them into the canopy of the forest. The journey ends with a visit to a handcrafted environmental center built using traditional construction materials and techniques.
The entrance to Primavera Urbana follows the aquatic theme with a pair of 20-foot tall waterfalls cascading alongside the entry staircase. This Grand entry is a fitting welcome to shoppers and the entire community with visibility from all angles.
Competition is tough in any marketplace, and Villavicencio is positioned for an upcoming growth spurt. Construction projects are plentiful and Primavera Urbana is staking their claim as the dominant player in the market.
This partnership between the two of us will produce a water feature that will gain worldwide attention as we attempt to break the traditional mold of sterilized fountains that have dominated the shopping center scene for decades.
I look forward to this challenge as I know it will push us to our creative limits!