WaterShapes

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

Water and Whimsy

A unique mix of folk art and high technology, the Uncle Wilbur Fountain in Colorado Springs, Colo., delights area children and parents alike with its music, animation and dancing waters.  Achieving these effects required great focus, says Anne Gunn of St. Louis-based fountain design/manufacturing firm HydroDramatics, as the design team carried a whimsical work of art from concept through to a most vivid reality.   (Photo by Jacquie Rogers)
A unique mix of folk art and high technology, the Uncle Wilbur Fountain in Colorado Springs, Colo., delights area children and parents alike with its music, animation and dancing waters. Achieving these effects required great focus, says Anne Gunn of St. Louis-based fountain design/manufacturing firm HydroDramatics, as the design team carried a whimsical work of art from concept through to a most vivid reality. (Photo by Jacquie Rogers)
By Anne Gunn

It began as the playful vision of Bob and Kat Tudor, husband-and-wife philanthropists and founders of The Smokebrush Theatre in Colorado Springs, Colo., who decided one day to donate a unique fountain to the children of their city.  Now that vision, fully realized, belongs to the citizens of this sprawling town at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in the form of a dazzling water display and a folksy character named Uncle Wilber.

Multi-talented artists in their own rights, the Tudors developed the aesthetic and creative concepts but knew from the start that they would need to enlist advanced technical expertise to

Read more: Water and Whimsy

The Jet Set

200305DT0By David Tisherman

If you’ve been following this column for the past several issues, you already know a good bit about the magnificent (and magnificently difficult) project I completed late last year in the Malibu Colony.  Many times in those columns, I mentioned (mostly in passing) a system of four deck-level laminar jets we planned on installing.

As was the case with just about everything else on this project, incorporating the system of jets into the courtyard environment turned out to be far more complicated and challenging than we ever thought it would be.  When all was said and done, however, we all agreed that meeting this particular challenge was

Read more: The Jet Set

Stone Poetry: Richard Hansen’s Platinum Standard Project

b_400_400_16777215_00_images_archart_200412Platinum_20041220Hansen_20A.jpgWatershaping advanced by leaps and bounds from 1999 through 2004 – a journey of artistry and practicality that was an inspiration to witness.  In this retrospective feature, WaterShapes Editor Eric Herman reviews 25 key projects published during that time frame, offering an ongoing resource to watershapers while defining a Platinum Standard for the designers, engineers, builders and artists who use water as their chosen medium.

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Richard Hansen
Pueblo, Colo.

 

 

Set on the Arkansas River in Pueblo, Colo., the Farley/Reilly Fountain was designed by sculptor Richard Hansen to mesh seamlessly with its urban surroundings while visually connecting the city’s new river walk with the water.  Inspired by local geology and influenced by Islamic styles, the stone structures mirror the elevations of the downtown’s architecture while the flow across the fountain’s base visually links the walk with the water and symbolizes the robust, healthy pulse of the river.

Italian Dreamscape: Villa d'Este as a Platinum Standard Project

b_400_400_16777215_00_images_archart_200412Platinum_20041217Villa_17A.jpgWatershaping advanced by leaps and bounds from 1999 through 2004 – a journey of artistry and practicality that was an inspiration to witness.  In this retrospective feature, WaterShapes Editor Eric Herman reviews 25 key projects published during that time frame, offering an ongoing resource to watershapers while defining a Platinum Standard for the designers, engineers, builders and artists who use water as their chosen medium.

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Villa d'Este, Tivoli, Italy
Presented by Mark Holden
Holdenwater
Fullerton, Calif.
 
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At 400 years old and counting, Italy's Villa d'Este is indisputably one of the world's paramount watershaping achievements.  Landscape architect and pool builder Mark Holden traveled there to explore the dazzling fountains, gardens and structures designed by renowned 16th-century historian and architect Pirro Ligorio and encountered an environment that, as he puts it, offers watershapers "a living, historic palette of ideas and stories related to us in three dimensions."

Timeless Impressions: Maya Lin’s, William Hobbs’s and Wayne Pierce’s Platinum Standard Project

b_400_400_16777215_00_images_archart_200412Platinum_20041218Hobbs_18A.jpgWatershaping advanced by leaps and bounds from 1999 through 2004 – a journey of artistry and practicality that was an inspiration to witness.  In this retrospective feature, WaterShapes Editor Eric Herman reviews 25 key projects published during that time frame, offering an ongoing resource to watershapers while defining a Platinum Standard for the designers, engineers, builders and artists who use water as their chosen medium.

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Maya Lin
New York   
 
William Hobbs & Wayne Pierce  
Hobbs Architectural Fountains    Atlanta     

      

 

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This unusual composition was designed by world-famous sculptor and architect Maya Lin and executed with the assistance of Hobbs Fountains, her frequent collaborators.  Commissioned by the Monroe Center in Grand Rapids, Mich., and called “Ecliptic” by Lin, it consists of two bookended outdoor displays – one an absolute-granite disk draped by a paper-thin flow of water, the other a circular fountain with a fog generator that conjures constantly changing visual effects.

Rethinking a Monument: Lynn Wolff’s and John Copley’s Platinum Standard Project

b_400_400_16777215_00_images_archart_200412Platinum_20041216Copley_16A.jpgWatershaping advanced by leaps and bounds from 1999 through 2004 – a journey of artistry and practicality that was an inspiration to witness.  In this retrospective feature, WaterShapes Editor Eric Herman reviews 25 key projects published during that time frame, offering an ongoing resource to watershapers while defining a Platinum Standard for the designers, engineers, builders and artists who use water as their chosen medium.

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Lynn Wolff & John Copley
Copley Wolff Design Group (CWDG)
Boston

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Lots of architectural fountains aren’t meant to be interactive but end up being treated that way.  Such was the case with the fountain in front of Boston’s First Church of Christ, Scientist, to which local children flocked for relief from summer’s heat despite the fact that the watershape was purely decorative.  For lots of reasons, the church called in CWDG to revise the facility, which now features barrier-free, foot-friendly surfaces and dancing jets that make the site safer and even more fun.

Elevated Expectations: Janet Rosenberg’s and Glenn Herman’s Platinum Standard Project

b_400_400_16777215_00_images_archart_200412Platinum_20041214Rosenberg_14A.jpgWatershaping advanced by leaps and bounds from 1999 through 2004 – a journey of artistry and practicality that was an inspiration to witness.  In this retrospective feature, WaterShapes Editor Eric Herman reviews 25 key projects published during that time frame, offering an ongoing resource to watershapers while defining a Platinum Standard for the designers, engineers, builders and artists who use water as their chosen medium.

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Janet Rosenberg & Glenn Herman
Janet Rosenberg & Associates
Toronto

 

 

Perched eleven stories high on a wind-swept terrace above Lake Ontario Harbor, this small, angular terrace was arranged to make a singularly modern sculptural statement.  Textured, serpentine stainless steel walls, ledger stone, a raised water trough, a hand-carved Indian stone basin, stone decking and tall specimen grass were deployed by Janet Rosenberg’s firm to transform what was essentially wasted space into an award-winning design that connects the terrace with distant lake views.

Molten Inspiration: Rafe Affleck’s Platinum Standard Project

b_400_400_16777215_00_images_archart_200412Platinum_2004128Affleck_8A.jpgWatershaping advanced by leaps and bounds from 1999 through 2004 – a journey of artistry and practicality that was an inspiration to witness.  In this retrospective feature, WaterShapes Editor Eric Herman reviews 25 key projects published during that time frame, offering an ongoing resource to watershapers while defining a Platinum Standard for the designers, engineers, builders and artists who use water as their chosen medium.

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Rafe Affleck
North Hollywood, Calif.

 

Artist Rafe Affleck not only uses water to accentuate and reflect his unique brand of stainless steel sculpture, but also works with cascades and sheeting flows of water to extend and visually complete the shapes and contours he defines.  Indeed, through artful use of precise hydraulics and low-tolerance metalcraft, he so fully integrates water with steel in dazzling impressions that he blurs the distinctions between liquid and solid, static and kinetic, as the eye moves across graceful forms and geometries.

Water at Play: Eric Dobbs’ and Jennifer Johnson’s Platinum Standard Project

b_400_400_16777215_00_images_archart_200412Platinum_2004126Dobbs_6.jpgWatershaping advanced by leaps and bounds from 1999 through 2004 – a journey of artistry and practicality that was an inspiration to witness.  In this retrospective feature, WaterShapes Editor Eric Herman reviews 25 key projects published during that time frame, offering an ongoing resource to watershapers while defining a Platinum Standard for the designers, engineers, builders and artists who use water as their chosen medium.

 

Eric Dobbs                 
Casa de Cantera     
Bakersfield, Calif.

Jennifer Johnson
Cock-a-Doodle-doo
Cathedral City, Calif.

 

This wildly expressive composition – the work of sculptor/designer Jennifer Johnson and stone-fountain specialist Eric Dobbs – is found in the desert community of Cathedral City, Calif.  Material was quarried and sculpted in Mexico, assembled off site and eventually trucked to the desert for painstaking reassembly.  Reminiscent in its tiled animal forms of Gaudi’s Park Guell, the interactive composition offers the perfect haven for families looking for a place to cool off.

Distant Drama: Paul L’Heureux’s Platinum Standard Project

b_400_400_16777215_00_images_archart_200412Platinum_2004121LHeureux_1A.jpgWatershaping advanced by leaps and bounds from 1999 through 2004 – a journey of artistry and practicality that was an inspiration to witness.  In this retrospective feature, WaterShapes Editor Eric Herman reviews 25 key projects published during that time frame, offering an ongoing resource to watershapers while defining a Platinum Standard for the designers, engineers, builders and artists who use water as their chosen medium.

b_400_400_16777215_00_images_archart_200412Platinum_2004121LHeureux_1B.jpgPaul L’Heureux
Crystal Fountains
Toronto

There aren’t many firms that can execute work on this scale, let alone do it halfway around the world.  In this case, Crystal Fountains was asked to design and manage construction of a monumental watershape at the base of the City Centre towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  With precision jets that dance reliably every day, all year ’round, projects of this magnitude require tremendous discipline at every stage, from planning and construction supervision to commissioning the system for clients.

When Music Meets Water

Water that dances in time to music has come to shape the pinnacle of architectural fountain design in recent years, and for good reason:  The results can be utterly spectacular.  In this article, fountain designers Ken Martin and Gerald Tester take a look inside this technology while profiling a musical fountain they recently installed in White Plains, N.Y., where tuneful sprays have quickly turned a small urban park into an invigorating cultural hub.
Water that dances in time to music has come to shape the pinnacle of architectural fountain design in recent years, and for good reason: The results can be utterly spectacular. In this article, fountain designers Ken Martin and Gerald Tester take a look inside this technology while profiling a musical fountain they recently installed in White Plains, N.Y., where tuneful sprays have quickly turned a small urban park into an invigorating cultural hub.
By Ken Martin & Gerald Tester

At a time when scores of American cities are still looking for ways to revive the faded glory of their urban cores, possible approaches are as visionary (and numerous) as can be.  The process has resulted in new parks, major redevelopment, architectural restorations and a long list of other solutions – including the unique watershape commissioned by the city of White Plains, N.Y.

A town with 54,000 full-time residents whose population swells to more than 200,000 during the day when office workers, shoppers and visitors come calling, White Plains made the decision to invest $4.5 million of public and private grant money in resurrecting a small downtown park.   

Appropriately named Renaissance Plaza, the park surrounds a state-of-the-art musical fountain unveiled in October 2003 for the specific purpose of luring people back to the downtown area – and it has worked.  In fact, the plaza has become such a hub of activity that nearly 1,700 units of new residential housing are now under construction in its downtown neighborhood.

URBAN OBJECTIVE

First settled by British colonists who bought it from the Mohican tribe in 1683, this historically rich city located 25 miles north of Manhattan has truly been reborn, and it’s with no small measure of

Read more: When Music Meets Water

Function Before Form

Late in 2003, landscape architect and watershaper Mark Holden set out on a personal mission to document some of Italy’s most beautiful watershapes.  From Rome to Venice, he observed glorious uses of water in courtyards and plazas filled with great artwork and beautiful architecture – and in this article takes us on a guided tour of some of those spaces with a discussion of how the work of these past masters still influences today’s watershapes.
Late in 2003, landscape architect and watershaper Mark Holden set out on a personal mission to document some of Italy’s most beautiful watershapes. From Rome to Venice, he observed glorious uses of water in courtyards and plazas filled with great artwork and beautiful architecture – and in this article takes us on a guided tour of some of those spaces with a discussion of how the work of these past masters still influences today’s watershapes.
By Mark Holden

Have you ever wondered why watershapes are at the heart of so many venerable courtyards and plazas?  

In a modern context, we might start answering that question by thinking about the natural human fascination and connection with water and then conclude that, like us, those who built the public spaces of ancient Mesopotamia or Athens or Rome simply liked being in the presence of water for emotional and spiritual reasons.

But the truth behind the prominent role of water in these spaces isn’t as romantic as all that.  Indeed, there’s

Read more: Function Before Form

The Codes Less Traveled

Code requirements for public pools and spas are well established in most jurisdictions, but specific guidelines governing the creation of decorative watershapes are far less widely developed, notes fountain specialist Dominic Shaw.  Having spent a career designing and building high-end fountains here and abroad, he has grappled with the fragmented state of fountain-related codes and offers a personal guide to keeping things straight.
Code requirements for public pools and spas are well established in most jurisdictions, but specific guidelines governing the creation of decorative watershapes are far less widely developed, notes fountain specialist Dominic Shaw. Having spent a career designing and building high-end fountains here and abroad, he has grappled with the fragmented state of fountain-related codes and offers a personal guide to keeping things straight.
By Dominic Shaw

Composition of this article began with an e-mail I received a while ago from a colleague working in Australia.  “What,” he asked, “is the maximum allowable depth for a fountain in the United States?”  As simple as it sounded, when I took the time to research the issue I found that there was a noticeable lack of definition.  

I took the next logical step and called various people I know in the watershaping industry and asked them the same question.  Surprisingly enough, nobody could point me to any code, regulation or standard that defined what depth a waterfeature’s pool could

Read more: The Codes Less Traveled

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