WaterShapes

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Imported Genius

By Jim McCloskey

12-19 travelogue art 1I lived about 20 miles from the heart of downtown Los Angeles when I was growing up, but it was a place I visited only rarely. I recall a school field trip to historic Olvera Street, and my father once took me to his office in a downtown

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Historic Reflections

By Jim McCloskey

dreamstime xs 13870478I’ve spent a lot of time in Washington, D.C., through the years.

I was born there in the 1950s, my favorite aunt lived there in the ’60s, one of my brothers lived there through part of the ’70s, business took me to the area frequently in the ’80s and ’90s, and one of my sisters

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Riding a Wave

By Jim McCloskey

3-7 traveloguecalatravaSo far in my Travelogues, I have always reported on watershapes I’ve seen with my own eyes – but every rule needs its exceptions, and this is one of those cases.

Many years ago, I became aware of Santiago Calatrava’s extraordinary bridges – structures so far removed from historical precedent and any sense of the ordinary that

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Spanish Rhapsody

By Jim McCloskey

12-5 travelogue artI’ve had the good fortune to visit Barcelona twice in my lifetime – once in 1977, when I was 22 and about three months into half a year’s traveling all over Europe; and again in 1994, when I was there for a European pool show as editor of Pool & Spa News. On both occasions, I was in the city for six days – but the two adventures could not have been more

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Taking the Plunge

By Jim McCloskey

666px-SutrobathsBack in 1979, when I first started in magazine publishing and was toiling away as a humble editorial assistant rewriting lots of press releases, the thought of having my own office seemed out of reach. But I was just

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Refurbishing Wright's Triangle

Of all the structures at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, the triangular reflection/swimming pool may be the most iconic – a highlight on a campus that is itself a monument to modern architecture.  But the watershape hadn’t been touched since the 1960s and was in need of a serious cosmetic update, which is why watershaper Thomas Lopez was called in to install new tile, fresh plaster and a new equipment set – and do it all in a hurry.
Of all the structures at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, the triangular reflection/swimming pool may be the most iconic – a highlight on a campus that is itself a monument to modern architecture. But the watershape hadn’t been touched since the 1960s and was in need of a serious cosmetic update, which is why watershaper Thomas Lopez was called in to install new tile, fresh plaster and a new equipment set – and do it all in a hurry.
By Thomas Lopez

I grew up in the Phoenix area and have known about Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West all my life.  It was kind of unavoidable:  One of the major streets here is named after Wright; the area is marked by examples of architecture that directly reflect his influence; and pretty much everyone in town knows that it was the place Wright used as a summer home while teaching his numerous protégés about his approaches to project design and execution.

For my part, however, my closest association with the facility had to do with the fact that my dad routinely delivered produce to the 600-acre facility and often shared stories about the unusual buildings and the occasionally eccentric people he met there.  Several decades passed in which I became a watershaper who specializes in contemporary designs, but until quite recently I had never been to Taliesin West.

That seems crazy given its vast influence on design in this region, but I made up for my information deficit in a big way last November, after I received a call from a representative of the facility who wanted to speak with me about restoring the facility’s famous

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Recent comments

  • Guest - Rob Lane

    I have never seen a sump pump that was UL listed for use in a swimming pool. Typically they state that no investigation has been done for the pump's use in a pool. How did you deal with this issue? Even the wonderful Peabody-Barns fountain pumps should not be used in a swimming pool.
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Simply Fascinating

By Jim McCloskey

dreamstime xs 21593309I’m fairly jaded when it comes to observing watershapes: I’ve seen a lot of them, know how they work and tend to focus on weird details that go beyond what’s perceived by the typical observer.

There is, however, a fountain that makes me feel giddy and even

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Unusual Grace

By Jim McCloskey

11-21 travelogue art--smallIt was nice taking a break after so many consecutive annual pilgrimages to Las Vegas by heading over to New Orleans for the 2012 edition of the International Pool|Spa|Patio Expo. I’ve been to the Crescent City about a dozen times through the past 30 years and have always enjoyed

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An Accelerating Spectacle

By Jim McCloskey

dreamstime xs 5076699The last time I visited Dallas on business, I kept a crucial side trip in mind: I just had to see the Fort Worth Water Gardens with my own eyes.

Designed by New York architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee and completed in 1974, the space has been iconic since day one. The way the space lures you in, drawing you past

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Blast from the Past

By Vance Gillette

9-5 video galleryEver since people started adding swimming pools to their backyards, the companies that make the equipment, tools, systems and accessories that drive or ease their use have tried to reach and influence consumers.

Real successes in those efforts can probably be counted on the fingers of a hand or two; I’ve always thought that, as an industry, we do a much better job of talking among ourselves at trade shows and in trade magazines than we do at getting to consumers where they live.

You’ll be glad to know that this is not a discussion I want to pursue here; rather, I want to focus

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Exotic Inspiration

By Jim McCloskey

1-11 travelogue artThis is a rather unusual Travelogue: I’d sat down to write a blog about the influence of hotel and resort pools on the way homeowners develop expectations of what can be done in their own backyards, and I recognized almost immediately that

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Spanish Accents

By Mark Holden

2-22 Holden art 1 mainIn the first entry in this series of articles, we opened a discussion of the hurdles watershapers encounter when attempting to integrate pools or spas with architectural styles that historically never had swimming pools

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Gateway Grandeur

By Jim McCloskey

10-24 travelogue art 1ASt. Louis is a great American city. My brother lived there for a time, and I have many friends who live within easy reach of that special point on the map where the Missouri River joins the Mississippi River as it flows to the Gulf of Mexico.

I’ve passed through town on several occasions through the years and was able to play the serious tourist once while visiting in the Spring of 1998. In addition to the famous zoo, a few museums and the Busch brewery, I basked in the splendor of Eero Saarinen’s Gateway Arch (although I didn’t ride to the top until a later visit) and, for the first time ever, saw the Gateway Geyser put on its

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Recent comments

  • Hi Jim - Really liked your article on the Gateway Geyser. We are really proud of it, and enjoy seeing people who appreciate the marvel of engineering that it is. Next time you are in St. Louis, we invite you to take a private tour of the pump house to see what makes it work. Earplugs will be prov...
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