WaterShapes

The web site for all professionals and consumers who've made or want to make water a part of their lives

Life's Absurdities

200708BVB0By Brian Van Bower

If you’ve ever designed or installed commercial swimming pools in the United States, it’s likely you’re well acquainted with just how strange certain health department standards (and the officials who enforce them) can be.  

I’ve discussed this topic before, of course, but it’s come back to mind in powerful ways in light of a couple recent experiences I’ve had – incidents that illustrate the issue to near-comedic perfection.

Before I climb into these oddball scenarios, let me observe first of all that, in most cases, commercial codes are based on methods rather than results – and never the twain shall meet.  Second, it’s my observation that the restrictions we face in our country are, as a rule, far more

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Making Changes

200707SR0By Stephanie Rose

This has been a year of changes.

Consider the weather, which, in my corner of the world, saw unusual, sustained periods of freezing temperatures never witnessed in my lifetime along with inconceivably low rainfall totals that make water rationing a very real possibility on southern California’s horizon.  

Whether these climatic extremes are, as some scientists are saying, a consequence of global warming or not, the fact of the matter is that these phenomena are worrisome and their implications need to be

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Pioneer Pride

Charles Wise is a Houston-based watershaper with ambitions as large as the Lone Star State.  Through a career spanning nearly four decades in pool design and construction, he’s done all he can to stay at the leading edge when it comes to technical innovation and aesthetic appeal – a strategy he discusses here while offering a bit of homespun philosophy and the perspectives of one who has been at the forefront as watershaping has evolved into an art form.
Charles Wise is a Houston-based watershaper with ambitions as large as the Lone Star State. Through a career spanning nearly four decades in pool design and construction, he’s done all he can to stay at the leading edge when it comes to technical innovation and aesthetic appeal – a strategy he discusses here while offering a bit of homespun philosophy and the perspectives of one who has been at the forefront as watershaping has evolved into an art form.
By Charles Wise

When people ask me what I do for a living, I like to tell them I’m a Texas-style maverick in the world of watershaping.  

That’s a lighthearted way of characterizing what I do, but it speaks the truth when it comes to describing what I think this industry is really all about.  Indeed, I see the best watershaping as being defined by a pioneer spirit and an appetite for innovation – a drive and hunger that convincingly overcome the all-too-common fear of trying new ideas, technologies and approaches.  

In my 37 years in the business, in fact, I’ve seen the process of shaping water change radically from what I witnessed when I started out in the 1970s.  All those years of change and experience have helped me look at the art of watershaping in new ways:  As have many other opened-minded artists in this business, I’ve

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Increasing Access

200807BB3The benefits of swimming and other forms of aquatic exercise are better defined and more widely known than ever before, notes Dr. Bruce Becker, one of the nation’s top researchers into all the good things that happen when people get in the water.  But there are a number of obstacles that are keeping some of those who would benefit from actually getting in the water to help themselves, he adds – a surmountable set of issues he explores here.

By Bruce Becker

It seems obvious enough.  To reap the physical and psychological benefits of swimming and other forms of aquatic exercise and therapy, a person must first get into the water.

Experience shows, however, that this initial step is often not

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Celebrating the Moment

200806BVB0 copyBy Brian Van Bower

I’m the sort of person who prefers to think about what’s next rather than spend much time dwelling on the past.  That’s not to say, however, that I don’t value past experiences, especially when I know they’ve had a role in creating the foundations for where we are now and for things yet to come.

The occasion of WaterShapes’ 100th issue certainly qualifies as an event that inclines me to look back:  For me and many others, the past nine-plus years of the magazine’s existence have been

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David Tisherman

McPrizeBy Jim McCloskey

I’ve known David Tisherman and his work for more than 20 years.  

Back when I worked for another industry publication, there was a time when that magazine had

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William N. Rowley

McPrizeBy Eric Herman

When Jim McCloskey and I began working toward the launch of WaterShapes in the summer of 1998, we knew that making our new magazine into something completely different would require expert advice from top people in the field.  One of the first I suggested turning to was Dr. William N. Rowley.

By that time, Bill’s accomplishments in the field of

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Anthony Archer Wills

McPrizeBy Eric Herman

Even as one who makes a living writing and editing, it’s difficult for me to find words sufficient to describe the experience of meeting and getting to know Anthony Archer Wills.

The best I can do is to describe encountering him as being something akin to

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Behind the Prize

By Jim McCloskey

My father was a teacher by trade.

When I was a kid, there were bookcases on the landing between the two floors of our home filled with the volumes he had used in teaching the history of science and technology in the 1940s and ’50s.  There was one book on those many shelves that always fascinated me.

He’d purchased it in France just after World War II ended, and it had neverbeen bound or trimmed, meaning the pages didn’t open unless you cut the edges with a knife.  The book was entitled L’Architecture:  Le Passé, Le Présent, and it gradually revealed its treasures to me as I grew bold enough to

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Forward Motion

By David Tisherman

There’s truth to the notion that the only thing that’s permanent in human endeavors is change.

For the past seven years, I’ve had the privilege of sharing with you scores of details, insights, opinions and descriptions of the watershaping process, always hoping that, through words and images, I might influence the way some of you approach your work.  It’s been a pleasure throughout, but the time has come for me to change things up, step aside and let other

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Swimming to Wellness

Most people know that swimming is a great form of exercise, but far fewer seem aware that getting in the water can mean the difference between a life of disability and one of well being for those who live with chronic injuries and illnesses.  In this special feature, Barbara Goldstein describes how a daily swimming regimen has enabled her to stay fit and able in mind, body and spirit while keeping symptoms of three serious medical conditions at bay.

 

By Barbara Goldstein

When I was a child, I read a biography of Theodore Roosevelt and discovered that we had asthma in common.  In my case, doctors treated the condition with medications, but Roosevelt had lived in a time long before the era of modern medicine, and I was interested to learn that he kept his condition under control by swimming regularly.  

About the time I turned 40, we had a pool installed at our home.  Even with

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Tomorrow's Advocates

By Mark Holden

Standing in front of classes filled with landscape architecture students is always an unpredictable proposition:  You just never know what their young minds will bring to the education process, the only constant being that they’re always full of surprises.

Each and every time I’ve had the privilege of starting a new semester with a fresh group of students, however, it’s never long before one of them will ask me about how ecologically sound watershapes really are or can be.

Truth be told (and as you’ll see in what follows), this has become something of a sore subject for me.  So when the question inevitably comes, I pause, ponder a bit and finally tell these eager young people that

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Plain Silly

200906BVBBy Brian Van Bower

I have my opinions – some of them quite strong – but I’m also what I would consider to be a tolerant, open-minded guy:  I weigh a broad spectrum of ideas in forming my perspectives, and I try my best to judge people by their thoughts, actions and merits.

Every once in a while, however, my reserves of patience get pressed to the limit.  When that happens, I believe it’s valid and useful to stand up and call things as I see them.  

Let me cut to the chase:  On February 25, 2009, The New York Times ran a piece in the paper’s Home & Garden section by

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