By Peter Arnold
It was the perfect confluence of needs and ideas: Mattamy Homes, a Canadian developer based in Toronto, was working on a project in Edmonton, Alberta – a new community called Stillwater that they wanted to elevate with an “amenity center.” This key space, we learned, was meant to promote healthy, active lifestyles by offering residents a play area that would include both a skating rink and a unique splash pad.
As planned, the community was set up with wilderness areas, hiking trails and other opportunities meant to encourage enjoyment of the great outdoors. To capture that spirit in the splash pad and playground, Mattamy Homes enlisted the services of Calgary, Alberta-based Park N Play Design, a designer and installer of custom indoor and outdoor recreation spaces throughout Canada.
The resulting splash-pad design includes a large, custom-fabricated set of spray rings that provides fun for children of all ages while at the same time creating an eye-catching, artistic visual at the heart of
By Ken Alperstein
A glance at our portfolio of dozens of golf-course projects dating back to 1990 shows that no two of them are exactly alike – despite the fact that our mission in each case has been exactly the same: It’s our goal with every project to leave behind grassy patches that have seemingly been draped across natural terrain that has been there, untouched and untrammeled, since time immemorial.
In other words, we’ve crafted elevation changes, watercourses, plantings and other defining features so carefully that it seems like folks who enjoy chasing little white, dimpled
By Ken Alperstein
We’ve participated in the construction of lots of great golf courses through the years, but this one was something special.
It started for us at Pinnacle Design (Palm Desert, Calif.) with a call from one of the world’s top golf-course architects, Ted Robinson, Jr., who let us know that we had to rush to prepare a presentation for a client in South Korea. As he explained the situation, if we couldn’t win over the chairman of the conglomerate that was building the 27-hole course, the job would go to
Through the years, Bruce Zaretsky has designed enough healing gardens that he knows just how comforting they can be for patients, caregivers and loved ones. But they only work, he notes, when designers keep some basic principles and several user-specific design factors in mind.
By Stephen Pevnick
From the start, the systems I call “Graphical Waterfalls” have always been about combining art and technology to create something unusual and visually arresting.
As discussed in a WaterShapes article in August 2007 (click here), it was an idea that began in the first year of my professional teaching career at the University of South Florida in Tampa. It became an earnest professional pursuit when I asked a professor in the music department if I could borrow some time on his
By Joseph M. Serpe
When New York’s Long Island comes up in conversation, most people think about the Hamptons, exclusive summer resorts, incredible estates and beaches by the mile.
But that image has a flip side: For many years, in fact, Wyandanch, a hamlet within the town of Babylon, N.Y., has been a community that has had very little go its way, with poverty-stricken streets, gang activity and not much going on that would make its citizens hopeful about
By Maria Hetzner
As customer demands continue to push the creativity of watershapers to new limits, industry professionals need to stay atop the trends – and nudge those of us on the supplier side to new levels of creativity as well.
In some cases, this means learning how to construct new environments, such as the vanishing edges and beach entrances so many clients now want. In other cases, this expanded creativity comes from a need to know what products are available from manufacturers.
Although once they were the product of on-site construction skills, sheeting waterfalls now fall largely into the category of
By Paul Ryan & E.C. Medley
Given the way bodies of water interact with gravity, a great deal of the personality of any swimming pool is set by the flat surface of the water and its reflective qualities. In our work, we’ve found a variety of ways to capitalize on that flatness by creating focal points that are distinctly vertical in nature.
In fact, we’ve found that working on the “y axis” and focusing on upright structures as diverse as arches, walls, columns and waterfalls can yield a variety of stunning visual effects: Exterior spaces and vistas can be connected or distinguished, architectural shapes can be contrasted or echoed, shadows or reflections can be cast, and privacy or openness can be enhanced.
The fact that these effects cut both ways makes them appealing to a custom builder who strives to give clients something unique and lets the characteristics of the individual setting drive the design process. It makes the work more challenging, yes, but it also makes it more fun and rewarding.
In many cases, the vertical elements we use can be subtle and retiring – a slightly raised bond beam, for example, or a small waterfall. More often than not, however, we gravitate toward the bold and declarative by integrating water into architectural forms and creating dramatic and
By George Forni
What is good lake construction? What makes some pristine and beautiful while others seem fetid and slimy? To discover the answer to these and other questions, we need to start by defining what we mean by “lake.”
It may seem arbitrary, but the distinction can be an important one, especially to people who own them. You don’t want to insult anyone by calling their lake a pond or lagoon, for example. By the same token, you don’t want to seem ill-informed or unprofessional in referring to their waterfeature as a lake. Given the different
By Pam Pasotti
Interactive watershapes are all about invitations to play.
For designers, interactive watershapes provide invitations to use water and the control of flowing water to create unique play environments. For children, teenagers, parents and other adults, they are invitations to play with one another in a safe and exciting aquatic playground.
It’s a form of invitation that’s rapidly gaining popularity in an era when playtime for both children and adults has become excessively passive and dominated by surfing the net, playing computer games or staying glued to
By John Stupfel
When today’s kids show up at a municipal swimming pool for a day of fun and excitement, they’re not looking to swim laps.
To be sure, the standard for what can be called “aquatic fun” has been set pretty high in recent years by huge water theme parks, with their wave pools and whitewater rides and huge, twisting, open-flume slides. Nowadays, older “flat-water pools” just can’t compete for summertime attention among active, thrill-seeking children – except in one arena.
Indeed, the availability these days of
By John Gilbert Luebtow
As a designer and artist, I believe that water and glass walk hand in hand: Both are transparent and translucent. They distort and reflect surrounding colors and forms. And depending upon whom you ask, water and glass are both liquids.
The visual and physical resonance between these two fascinating materials is important to me: I know that their interplay adds an entirely different dimension to my work that enhances the effects I can achieve using glass, metal and ceramics, so I’m always eager to explore artistic solutions when my customers want the project to include water.
In this article, I’ll examine three of my projects that use water to accentuate and reflect the sculpture while providing the soothing sounds that create an overall feeling of peacefulness in the surrounding space. But first, a bit more about what I do – and how I do it.
AHEAD OF THE GLASS
As with many forms of sculpture, working with glass requires technical know-how and, like many modern artists, I have acquired a background in construction and fabrication techniques.
Back in school my
By George Forni
Long a fixture in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the Conservatory of Flowers is one of the most photographed structures in a city famous for picturesque beauty.
At 125 years old, the facility is the oldest surviving public conservatory in the western hemisphere. Originally built in 1878 and then rebuilt after a devastating fire in 1883, it’s also an architectural and engineering treasure – an extremely rare example of a prefabricated Victorian-era structure that had withstood the test of time. In 1995, however, a severe storm caused extensive damage and led city building officials to deem it unsafe for public use.
Despite that decision, a dedicated group of paid staff and volunteers doggedly maintained and managed the site and its plants in a gallant effort to stave off further degradation, all with the hope that someday the Conservatory would be restored. They bit off no small challenge, as many of the facility’s “botanical residents” are difficult and expensive to maintain – including a 100-year-old Philodendron with five-foot tall leaves that fills much of the space beneath the Conservatory’s towering central glass dome.
The ongoing campaign to save