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

Designing and installing botanical gardens may be soul-satisfying, but it's also a remarkable professional challenge. As Raymond Jungles writes in the first of three articles on the subject, these projects have multiple audiences, each of them bringing massive expectations to the table.
Designing and installing botanical gardens may be soul-satisfying, but it's also a remarkable professional challenge.  As Raymond Jungles writes in the first of three articles on the subject, these projects have multiple audiences, each of them bringing massive expectations to the table.
By Raymond Jungles

As a landscape architect, I’m passionate about creating gardens of every variety. But I like my work to benefit as many people as possible, so I get particularly engaged when these spaces are accessible to the general public.

This explains why I love working on botanical gardens and exploring the ways they allow me to focus on plants and education in fundamental ways. Through the past 30 years, I’ve had the privilege of working on slices of four different botanical gardens, so I also know the

Healing gardens are now playing important roles for healthcare facilities of all descriptions, note J. Wickham Zimmerman and Chris Roy. Here's a look at a particularly prominent example of the genre -- complete with a tricky site, an elaborate sculpture and 15 watershapes.
Healing gardens are now playing important roles for healthcare facilities of all descriptions, note J. Wickham Zimmerman and Chris Roy. Here's a look at a particularly prominent example of the genre -- complete with a tricky site, an elaborate sculpture and 15 watershapes.
By J. Wickham Zimmerman & Chris Roy

As our business has evolved through the years, more and more often we’ve found ourselves involved in designing, engineering and installing waterfeatures associated with hospitals, medical centers and other healthcare institutions. These projects usually fall under the heading of “wellness gardens” or “healing gardens” – that is, spaces set aside for patients, families and staff to decompress, meditate or simply take a break.

While these watershapes are generally simple in concept, there’s typically more to the way they’re designed and built than meets the eye – a fact that adds an extra layer of

It's a play pad with a difference: While offering ample opportunities for vigorous summer fun, notes Peter Arnold, the area's looping set of spray rings are the visual heart of this Canadian housing development -- even in winter when there are multiple feet of snow on the ground.
It's a play pad with a difference:  While offering ample opportunities for vigorous summer fun, notes Peter Arnold, the area's looping set of spray rings are the visual heart of this Canadian housing development -- even in winter when there are multiple feet of snow on the ground.
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

Set deep in the mountains of South Korea, this golf course is a monumental achievement in land contouring and water management. In his concluding article about this enormous undertaking, Ken Alperstein covers what it took to go from compacted rubble to water-laced dreamscape.
Set deep in the mountains of South Korea, this golf course is a monumental achievement in land contouring and water management.  In his concluding article about this enormous undertaking, Ken Alperstein covers what it took to go from compacted rubble to water-laced dreamscape.
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

Building this golf course wasn't a subtle process, notes Ken Alperstein. As he discusses in the first of a pair of articles on the project, they started by knocking over a South Korean mountain, then, after extensive contouring, began working on two heavily regulated water systems.
Building this golf course wasn't a subtle process, notes Ken Alperstein.  As he discusses in the first of a pair of articles on the project, they started by knocking over a South Korean mountain, then, after extensive contouring, began working on two heavily regulated water systems.
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.

 

When Stephen Pevnick flips the switch to animate one of his amazing installations, the ability of water to communicate moves from the abstract to the literal in a hurry. Here's a look at how one of these displays helped a company set the tone for a key inspirational event.
When Stephen Pevnick flips the switch to animate one of his amazing installations, the ability of water to communicate moves from the abstract to the literal in a hurry.  Here's a look at how one of these displays helped a company set the tone for a key inspirational event.
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

When coherent sheets of water fall gracefully from a height and down into just about any pool, spa or basin, you can bank on the fact that onlookers will be hooked. The effect is a true feast of sight and sound, says waterfall supplier Maria Hetzner, and it’s well within reach of any watershaper. Here, she briefly explains what makes these systems tick, then conducts a tour of a variety of sheet-fall applications in both residential and commercial settings.
When coherent sheets of water fall gracefully from a height and down into just about any pool, spa or basin, you can bank on the fact that onlookers will be hooked.  The effect is a true feast of sight and sound, says waterfall supplier Maria Hetzner, and it’s well within reach of any watershaper.  Here, she briefly explains what makes these systems tick, then conducts a tour of a variety of sheet-fall applications in both residential and commercial settings.
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

As is true of all architectural forms, the design of watershapes calls for thinking in three dimensions. In fact, say Texas pool builders Paul Ryan and E.C. Medley, the integration of a vertical dimension is crucial to success, both as a way to contrast to the sublime flatness of the water’s calm surface and to echo surrounding architectural styles and motifs.
As is true of all architectural forms, the design of watershapes calls for thinking in three dimensions.  In fact, say Texas pool builders Paul Ryan and E.C. Medley, the integration of a vertical dimension is crucial to success, both as a way to contrast to the sublime flatness of the water’s calm surface and to echo surrounding architectural styles and motifs.
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

From golf courses to private estates, small lakes have become a familiar part of both urban and suburban landscapes. But few people give much thought to these mostly man-made bodies of water, says lake designer George Forni, or to how they are designed, engineered, built and maintained. To fill that information gap, he surveys the basics with an eye toward defining qualities that make lakes both beautiful and enduring.
From golf courses to private estates, small lakes have become a familiar part of both urban and suburban landscapes.  But few people give much thought to these mostly man-made bodies of water, says lake designer George Forni, or to how they are designed, engineered, built and maintained.  To fill that information gap, he surveys the basics with an eye toward defining qualities that make lakes both beautiful and enduring.
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

First created for use in the supercharged, hyperactive environments of aquatic theme parks, interactive waterplay systems now offer the designer of public and semi-public spaces an arsenal of fun-inducing features. They work in just about any setting, says Pam Pasotti of manufacturer SCS Interactive – anywhere you think people might take up the invitation to get wet in the name of pure, unadulterated fun.
First created for use in the supercharged, hyperactive environments of aquatic theme parks, interactive waterplay systems now offer the designer of public and semi-public spaces an arsenal of fun-inducing features.  They work in just about any setting, says Pam Pasotti of manufacturer SCS Interactive – anywhere you think people might take up the invitation to get wet in the name of pure, unadulterated fun.
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

They’re big, bold and colorful – a natural magnet for kids seeking thrills and fun. And they’re downright beautiful to operators of commercial and public pools, who have turned to closed-flume slides as a way to offer a safe and affordable alternative to the high-cost entertainment found at the big waterparks. The outcome, says slide manufacturer John Stupfel, is the revival of community pools and a whole new reason why slides are back on track.
They’re big, bold and colorful – a natural magnet for kids seeking thrills and fun.  And they’re downright beautiful to operators of commercial and public pools, who have turned to closed-flume slides as a way to offer a safe and affordable alternative to the high-cost entertainment found at the big waterparks.  The outcome, says slide manufacturer John Stupfel, is the revival of community pools and a whole new reason why slides are back on track.
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

The relationship between glass and water can be a powerful one, says John Gilbert Luebtow, a modernist sculptor who uses water to spectacular effect in some of his work. Here, he explores the nature of that relationship while describing three major projects in which the ‘visual dance’ between water and glass is expressed in multi-dimensional shapes and sweeping, organic lines.
The relationship between glass and water can be a powerful one, says John Gilbert Luebtow, a modernist sculptor who uses water to spectacular effect in some of his work.  Here, he explores the nature of that relationship while describing three major projects in which the ‘visual dance’ between water and glass is expressed in multi-dimensional shapes and sweeping, organic lines.
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

CRYSTAL FOUNTAINS VIDEO SHOWCASE


Click 'play' to watch the current showcase video

watershapes-extra

resource-directory