Airport water fountains

I needed a drink of water in the Houston (Hobby) airport, and one good thing about America compared to, say, Europe, is that water fountains are nearly always handy in public facilities. Seeking my drink, I found this:

Now usually there are two levels: low to the ground for kids and higher up for adults. If the kid is intermediate sized, they can stoop, as I often do when the Big People’s Fountain is occupied. But here we have five different levels (or maybe four; I didn’t measure the end ones). That means that, unless there are huge crowds vying for water, so that many fountains are needed, this installation costs 2.5 times as much as the standard one.

Is there some purpose for this, or is it an artistic array designed to be attractive? I’ve never seen it before, and while it affords libations for those of diverse heights, including the Altitudinally Challenged, there is such a thing as bending down.

48 Comments

  1. Posted April 19, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    “Altitudinally Challenged”?

    I prefer “Lacking in Perpendicular”.

    • BobTerrace
      Posted April 19, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Horizontally advantaged?
      (Taking a positive spin)

    • Posted April 19, 2018 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      “Compact”

  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Could it be for people in wheel chairs, which could be at various heights & hard to adjust for?

    • Posted April 19, 2018 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      I believe the farthest to the right frame is for disabled persons with vehicular aid – note the slight extension from the next fountain.

      All in all, I find it a pleasing installation.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted April 19, 2018 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

        They are all right-handed. So much for inclusion! The height arrangement left to right is ABCDB. They are all equally spaced & same distance from the wall as per photo below. I think these installations are found in each departure hub of the airport because I found another pic of a smaller ABC only arrangement at same airport.
        fountain

        • Posted April 19, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

          Hmmm, what could they be then? Musical notes?

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted April 19, 2018 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

            It’s symbolic of Enron stock pricing – the sixth fountain is upside down & beneath the floor

        • Linda K
          Posted April 19, 2018 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

          They are not right-handed. Either hand can press on the bar in the center. They are, however, right-mouthed.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted April 20, 2018 at 8:39 am | Permalink

          They aren’t right handed because you push the front button to get the water out.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted April 19, 2018 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      That is my assumption. It’s hard to bend across without having to bend up or down too.

      And personally, my back is always killing me when I get off a plane and bending over is agony. You should see me trying to keep my back straight while I wash my hands! It’s why I use Purell so much, even at home.

      And though most people aren’t permanently afflicted, back pain is pretty common and I’d imagine airplane seats exacerbate things for anyone who suffers from it.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted April 19, 2018 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      That is my assumption. It’s hard to bend across without having to bend up or down too.

      And personally, my back is always killing me when I get off a plane and bending over is agony. You should see me trying to keep my back straight while I wash my hands! It’s why I use Purell so much, even at home.

      And though most people aren’t permanently afflicted, back pain is pretty common and I’d imagine airplane seats exacerbate things for anyone who suffers from it.

  3. Paul S
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Having been through the Houston airport more than I’d like, this is in keeping with the rest of the airport and Texas in general. It’s vast with little comparative population so they have space to waste, and they do.

    • XCellKen
      Posted April 19, 2018 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Paul, you do know that Houston has more than one airport, therefore, your statement about THE Houston airport is nonsensical ? You would think that someone that has traveled to our crappy State so often would have known that

      Perhaps next time, Paul you should change planes in New Orleans, or New Mexico, or Oklahoma, or…

      • Paul S
        Posted April 19, 2018 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        You’re right, I should have known better. I’ve been to Houston’s Intercontinental before is was Bush and Hobby as well as Dallas, but never Love Field which I was told was the way to go if you’re headed to Dallas.

        Still, everything is bigger in Texas.

        • Carl Powers
          Posted April 19, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

          Love Field is a nice airport. I used to use it all the time traveling to Dallas.

  4. Hempenstein
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    It’s a metaphoric art installation, representing the progress of man. The 4th one is the Obama era.

    • sshort
      Posted April 19, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      That would make the yellow Caution cone the Trump era.

      Fell over before they could even install a tiny fountain.

    • W.T. Effingham
      Posted April 19, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      If the fourth fountain represents the Obama era, the next fountain must represent the Legislative – Judicial era and the one representing (Spanky) tRUMPs era is at least eighty floors down…sad.

    • Posted April 20, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      The 4th one is the Obama era.

      That can’t be right: the fifth one isn’t on the floor but I have heard its water leaves you with a bitter taste in your mouth.

  5. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I think they are telling you that you are in the big city now sonny. We can give you water at any level you like.

  6. Posted April 19, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    I guess, artistic design.

  7. Ken Pidcock
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Personally, I think it’s a lovely design.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted April 19, 2018 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Me too. I like it.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted April 19, 2018 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      It reminds me of sheet music.

  8. Posted April 19, 2018 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Maybe it’s a play on those silly stick figure car stickers. Baby, Kid, Mommy, Daddy, Doggy.

  9. dreamsareus
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    What Diseases Can You Catch from a Water Fountain?

    https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/09/26/drinking-fountain.aspx

  10. nicky
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    It is beautiful. As a service to people of different height (Podh’s) and people of restricted growth (Porg’s), it appears a bit of a slight overkill, but as a work of art it works for me.

  11. Mike Anderson
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    If I saw that I’d have to check out the urinal architecture.

    • nicky
      Posted April 19, 2018 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

      !! More important indeed.

  12. Curt Nelson
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    There is such a thing as bending over, I agree. I wish they would make high ones for the bad-backed, four feet up or so. Levels, lots of levels.

  13. Posted April 19, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Looking for the goldilocks zone…

    They could make one adjustable… nevermind, I keep thinking of giraffes and the trouble they have to go to, to take a drink.

  14. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Arty and accommodating.
    On a side note, I have been seeing that for multiple drinking fountains, only one is kept operational and the others are now often disabled. This to just stop having to maintain extra ones? What is up with that?

    • Hempenstein
      Posted April 19, 2018 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      That could be unintended consequences. If just one and it quits, people complain. If multiple and one goes out, they move to the next, and so on.

  15. jhs
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Maybe it is designed for a family of four with Grandma in her wheelchair.

  16. ladyatheist
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Pandering to the Quiverfull families?

  17. Posted April 19, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    “the Altitudinally Challenged” funny wording, I will keep this in my mind!

  18. Posted April 19, 2018 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    One for L, one for G, one for B, one for T, and one for Q. Identity politics.

  19. Posted April 19, 2018 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    The second and the fifth from the left to right appear to be the same height. Those people have to own their privilege.

  20. Posted April 19, 2018 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Texas family size.

  21. Brian Salkas
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    the second one from the left and the end one look like they are the same height. If the one on the right continued the trend, I would finally not have to bend over at a drinking fountain.

  22. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Water fountains? Oh, so that’s what they are.

    cr
    (Thought they were urinals…)

    • Posted April 20, 2018 at 3:59 am | Permalink

      You are taking the…
      😉

  23. Posted April 20, 2018 at 3:58 am | Permalink

    I do not see why it would cost more – less metal for pipes! An architect designed this – what I call ‘an architect’s whim’!

  24. Peter Conn
    Posted April 20, 2018 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    Looks like art to me. The outline of a wing at an airport perhaps?

    • Robert
      Posted April 20, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      You got my vote.

  25. Posted April 20, 2018 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    One serious joke I tell often is about the luxury of being able to have fresh water (as opposed to tea, say) in our parts of the world. So enjoy!


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