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Now familiar with the unusual realities of the huge fountain-renovation project they'd undertaken, J. Wickham Zimmerman and Chris Roy had to figure out how to proceed despite difficult access, limited pipe penetrations and, of course, super-high civic expectations.
Now familiar with the unusual realities of the huge fountain-renovation project they'd undertaken, J. Wickham Zimmerman and Chris Roy had to figure out how to proceed despite difficult access, limited pipe penetrations and, of course, super-high civic expectations.
By J. Wickham Zimmerman & Chris Roy

It’s the nature of the game: One of the great sources of pride for any good watershaping business has to do with its ability to find solutions to difficult challenges – a new way to achieve something familiar when the established or conventional approach won’t work, for example, or dealing with site constraints that repeatedly send you back to the drawing board.

That’s the sort of pride we had coming out of our work on the Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain and its accompanying splash pad at Grand Park in Los Angeles, and it was intensified by the fact that this was the restoration of a 60-year-old fountain that had originally been built with an entirely different approach from anything we’d consider today – but whose physical constraints we couldn’t

It's tough to develop a landscape design that satisfies the social needs of a family while also meeting the practical needs of a thriving home-based business, writes Colleen Holmes. Ever consider what's involved in setting up a parking lot so it also serves as an off-hours retreat?
It's tough to develop a landscape design that satisfies the social needs of a family while also meeting the practical needs of a thriving home-based business, writes Colleen Holmes.  Ever consider what's involved in setting up a parking lot so it also serves as an off-hours retreat?
By Colleen Holmes

For most of my professional life, I’ve worked on projects in which the dominant color is green. With the project under discussion here, however, both the client and the setting called for something quite different.

As I knew going in, the property, located in Northridge, Calif., is both a residence and a place of business, so on any given workday multiple cars and trucks invade the space and need convenient places to park. But while this primary use of a plaza-scale space as a parking pad suited clients’ business needs, it was plainly too dusty and downright bleak to offer any

Approaching the renovation of an historic fountain set over an existing, untouchable structure is daunting enough. But it gets tougher, write J. Wickham Zimmerman and Chris Roy, when the original documentation is sketchy and you have no choice but to figure out how to proceed.
Approaching the renovation of an historic fountain set over an existing, untouchable structure is daunting enough.  But it gets tougher, write J. Wickham Zimmerman and Chris Roy, when the original documentation is sketchy and you have no choice but to figure out how to proceed.
By J. Wickham Zimmerman & Chris Roy

With any watershape renovation project, there’s a great deal of anticipation of what you’ll discover once the system is dismantled to whatever degree or level is necessary. In some cases, all is well and the process of reworking structures and systems unfolds smoothly. In others, however, there are surprises that can take your breath away.

This was one of those “other” cases – the restoration of an historic fountain that had been in place since 1958 as well as the upgrading of an adjacent space to accommodate a splash pad for interactive play and provide a stage for

Using a concept based on no more than a photograph he'd once spotted online, Jerry Romano traversed uncharted territory to reverse-engineer the 'mystery fountain' that now serves as his company's calling card along a heavily wooded stretch of New Jersey road.
Using a concept based on no more than a photograph he'd once spotted online, Jerry Romano traversed uncharted territory to reverse-engineer the 'mystery fountain' that now serves as his company's calling card along a heavily wooded stretch of New Jersey road.
By Jerry Romano

This story starts with a tree falling in the forest.

It wasn’t just any tree: It was a huge locust that had stood next to what is now my driveway for years beyond reckoning, and when it came down it did its best to take a tangle of utility lines with it.

I wasn’t there when all of this happened, but I returned soon thereafter and saw the lingering effects: The utility companies had done a wonderful job of cutting away portions of the tree that had fallen onto the wires and had effectively cleared the road, but

Building an elaborate, choreographed fountain in a public place is always a technical and logistical challenge. But in this case, note J. Wickham Zimmerman and Chris Roy, the stakes were significantly raised by the developer's bold vision as well as the project's geographic location.
Building an elaborate, choreographed fountain in a public place is always a technical and logistical challenge.  But in this case, note J. Wickham Zimmerman and Chris Roy, the stakes were significantly raised by the developer's bold vision as well as the project's geographic location.
By J. Wickham Zimmerman & Chris Roy

Through the past few years, certain parts of Idaho have seen large influxes of people from California, some of them seeking more bucolic lifestyles, others heading into retirement and still others looking for places where taxes are lower than they are in the Golden State.

As it turns out, these folks have been transplanting more than just their personal hopes and dreams, with pieces of California culture following them wherever they go. They’re arriving in cities like Boise with preferences in mind as well as the resources required to make

The logistics were tough and the technical challenges even tougher, notes Robert Nonemaker. But a systematic approach (and a supportive general contractor) helped him and his staff develop a hydraulically complex fountain system for a corporate client with big ambitions.
The logistics were tough and the technical challenges even tougher, notes Robert Nonemaker.  But a systematic approach (and a supportive general contractor) helped him and his staff develop a hydraulically complex fountain system for a corporate client with big ambitions.
By Robert Nonemaker

One of the things we value most in our fountain projects is that no two of them are ever the same. I can make that same statement about our custom pool projects, of course, but it’s a matter of degree: Where uniqueness from pool to pool is about selecting just the right possibilities among shapes, elevations and materials, for instance, from fountain to fountain it’s about inventing and adapting technology and pushing accepted limits to make ideas work.

The fountain under discussion in this article is a perfect illustration of that distinction. Making it happen was about

Faced with what he saw as a clear need to simplify the task of choreographing dancing fountains, Scott Palamar applied what he knew about control technology to the problem -- and the result is an approach that makes both new and old waterfeatures dance to a fresh beat.
Faced with what he saw as a clear need to simplify the task of choreographing dancing fountains, Scott Palamar applied what he knew about control technology to the problem -- and the result is an approach that makes both new and old waterfeatures dance to a fresh beat.
By Scott Palamar

Picture this: A seaside fountain in which jets of water are arrayed and programed to emulate a Pacific Ocean swell. It’s designed as a mirror to existing conditions, using real-time ocean-observation data to determine the exact timing and height of the fountain’s jet sequence.

Or this: An installation scheduled by its managers to function as an interactive-play fountain at certain times of the day when children are likeliest to be present, or as a musical/performing fountain in the evenings or at other times when the property owner’s desire is to entertain and help people relax.

Or this: A fountain that

Adding three big waterfeatures to a prominent Philadelphia streetscape was a logistical challenge, reports Robert Nonemaker, as was being among the smallest players in a high-stakes project. Handling the pressure took patience -- and a self-reliant approach to project management.
Adding three big waterfeatures to a prominent Philadelphia streetscape was a logistical challenge, reports Robert Nonemaker, as was being among the smallest players in a high-stakes project.  Handling the pressure took patience -- and a self-reliant approach to project management.
By Robert Nonemaker

Among the best things about Philadelphia is its stock of public art – and that’s not accidental:  For many years, all construction projects in specific neighborhoods reaching certain dollar thresholds have been required to include an accessible work of art within their footprints.  Whether it’s a sculpture, a mural, a statue celebrating a Founding Father or a waterfeature, the city now boasts more than 1,000 of these art pieces, each one part of an outstanding cultural and historical landscape.  

One of our recent projects fit within this program:  Located just across the way from Independence Hall, it’s part of a

Getting down to cases, Robert Mikula and Simon Gardiner conclude a two-part series by highlighting three great fountains and discussing how planning for multiple layers of community involvement have resulted in their emergence as indispensable urban resources.
Getting down to cases, Robert Mikula and Simon Gardiner conclude a two-part series by highlighting three great fountains and discussing how planning for multiple layers of community involvement have resulted in their emergence as indispensable urban resources.
By Robert Mikula & Simon Gardiner

When we in the design community follow through with our belief that successful urban spaces must work as gathering spots and community resources for recreation, social interaction and relaxation, all sorts of good things start happening in these environments: Those who initiated the ideas are satisfied with the results; those who designed and built them are empowered to participate in effective, rewarding team processes; and those who use the spaces come back again and again, maintaining a high level of

Working on major projects is always good for company morale, notes Denise Housler. But in this case, the fact that it was a monument meant to commemorate veterans from their own county kicked both their emotions and their desire to nail the details up by several notches.
Working on major projects is always good for company morale, notes Denise Housler.  But in this case, the fact that it was a monument meant to commemorate veterans from their own county kicked both their emotions and their desire to nail the details up by several notches.
By Denise Housler

All of our projects make us proud to be watershapers – but this one stands out among the most satisfying and rewarding of them all.

The Veterans’ Memorial was designed by David Richter of Richter Architects (Corpus Christi, Texas) and sits on prime real estate alongside City Hall in Portland, Texas. Two more Corpus Christi firms – Beecroft Construction and we at Aquaria Services – assembled the monument, which commemorates fallen veterans representing both

The circumstances in which urban fountains are created these days is complex and ever-changing, say Robert Mikula and Simon Gardiner -- a situation they discuss in the first of two articles on building a sense of multi-level participation among key groups of stakeholders.
The circumstances in which urban fountains are created these days is complex and ever-changing, say Robert Mikula and Simon Gardiner -- a situation they discuss in the first of two articles on building a sense of multi-level participation among key groups of stakeholders.
By Robert Mikula & Simon Gardiner

In his 1980 book, The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, William H. Whyte described seven elements needed to make urban spaces successful: seating areas, ready street access, sun, the availability of food, the presence of trees, features that promote conversations among strangers and water – particularly in the form of water features and fountains.

As an example of this formulation, there is no more illustrative space than New York’s

 

Emerging technologies have changed the ways designers look at fountains. This makes it an opportune time, writes Robert Mikula, to step back, survey the evolving state of the art and figure out the best ways to make water a must-have component for our public places.
Emerging technologies have changed the ways designers look at fountains.  This makes it an opportune time, writes Robert Mikula, to step back, survey the evolving state of the art and figure out the best ways to make water a must-have component for our public places.
By Robert Mikula

It’s easy to back up an assertion that a good fountain is the key to making a public space work.

A monumental statue is great, for instance, but when you add water even in the quiescent form of a reflecting pool, the visitor’s experience of the installation is enhanced in many ways. And while big, open plazas may serve as ready-made gathering places, if you add even a small fountain, the overall space will be defined by its presence and visitors will inevitably be drawn to it as a focal point.

Public fountains take many forms, but whatever the specifics, their

 

Cascades look great in daylight, but lighting them has always been a challenge -- and Jeff Chapman had three of them on his plate. Fortunately, he also had access to a new LED technology -- a system that made his work just as compelling at night as it is by day.
Cascades look great in daylight, but lighting them has always been a challenge -- and Jeff Chapman had three of them on his plate.  Fortunately, he also had access to a new LED technology -- a system that made his work just as compelling at night as it is by day.
By Jeff Chapman

We’ve designed and built lots of fountains and waterfeatures through the years on all sorts of scales and levels, but this one – a definite jump outside the box – will be particularly memorable for all of us.

The client was The Woodlands, the big planned community near Houston. One of its highlights is a 1.7-mile-long waterway

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