Other Waterfeatures (from birdbaths to lakes)

Civic Achievement: James van Sweden’s Platinum Standard Project
In December 2004, WaterShapes introduced ‘The Platinum Standard,’ a registry of projects that embodies watershaping…
An Elevated Thrill: Nate Reynolds’ Platinum Standard Project
In December 2004, WaterShapes introduced ‘The Platinum Standard,’ a registry of projects that embodies watershaping…
A Buccaneer’s Brew
A small town set in the suburban vastness of southern California, the city of La Mirada seems an unlikely setting for a leading-edge aquatics facility – let alone the grand one that now occupies 19 prominent acres within the city’s sprawling regional park. We were first introduced to the project in September 2005 by the city’s public works director, Steve Forster, who invited us to sit in on a meeting to discuss the city’s ambitions.  At this gathering, key city officials let us know that they’d already secured much of the $30 million plus the project would require and expressed their desire to begin moving right away with a very aggressive project schedule.  What was needed now, they told us, was a company that had
Wings of Whimsy
In the often wild and woolly world of custom landscape and watershape design, it’s sometimes impossible to predict the sources of the most interesting and challenging projects – or anticipate how we manage to find our ways into the middle of them.  It’s all part of what makes this profession so uplifting at times – and so confounding at others. I’ve worked hard to accept and embrace the strange tides of fortune this business entails.  As a case in point, this month (and next) I’m going to relate a story that captures the essence of what it can take to accommodate the unexpected and enlist the nerve it sometimes takes to
All About the Water
People who live in and around Hilton Head Island, S.C., cherish the memory of Charles Fraser, the visionary developer who set the standard for the way communities look along vast stretches of the Carolina coast.  Most prominently, he pioneered progressive land-planning standards 50 years ago in developing Sea Pines, one of the first communities to incorporate environmental preservation as part of the development, take its design cues from nature and support the concept with land covenants and restrictions. Fraser’s vision for Sea Pines has since become the foundation for many planned communities worldwide and embodies a philosophy that has, in the intervening years, spread throughout the country.  Indeed, our firm – Wood+Partners of Hilton Head – has always endeavored to adhere to this approach in planning communities that are situated in and around natural environments. Most of the time, that means we work (as Fraser did) with water as a central amenity, whether the setting borders a lake, the ocean, a river or a natural wetland area.  As we see it, our mission is to preserve and, where we can, even
The Subtlest Flows
My dictionary defines a rill as a small stream cut by erosion.  In the practice of watershaping, however, that colorful little word has been stretched to cover manufactured channels in which we artfully move water from one place to another. These often-subtle effects have a history dating at least to the 5th Century BC, when Persian kings demonstrated their power over nature by using rills to bring water – a symbol of fertility as well as a practical means of cooling architectural spaces – from rivers and aqueducts to their palaces.   These early rills were observed and adopted by Muslim designers and engineers who rose to eminence in the Middle East more than a millennium later and were carried along as Islamic influence spread through India, North Africa and, eventually, Spain, where signature elements of Moorish architecture are still seen today in the famous
Fluid Melodies: An Interview with Steve Mann
Not to diminish the painted ponies of The Wizard of Oz, but Steve Mann’s hydraulophones are horses of a different color.  These watershapes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from landmark centerpieces that have the sculptural grandeur of pipe organs all the way down to water-flutes that resemble brightly colored tadpoles. What’s most remarkable about these devices isn’t just their structural and artistic variety or the ways they look as visual art:  It’s the sounds they make.  At first, the natural comparison is to a pipe organ, but as you listen, a variety of shadings and other sonic reverberations emerge, slip and slide around you. What’s more, hydraulophones invite people to insert their fingers into the jetting water to shape the sound and squeeze out the shape of each note, and a variety of sonic textures are possible depending upon
Falling Arches
For me, hitting the high notes in watershaping and landscape design is a product of careful observation, boundless imagination and detailed visualization.  These factors drive the design process, after which I transition into the more practical phases of the project with reliable engineering and quality construction. The early, creative phases can definitely be tricky, because they require many of my clients to take great leaps of faith, especially when what they're after is a highly customized environment - something truly unique. In those cases, we know that we at Artisan Home Resorts (San Jose, Calif.) are asking clients to visualize something nobody's ever seen before:  No matter how well we represent our ideas on paper or on a computer screen, the outcome will, to a certain degree, remain an abstraction until the everything is finished and working.   When everything finally comes together (as we believe it did in the project illustrated in this feature), a vision is realized and the payoff can be extremely rewarding, both for the clients and for those of us who worked hard to see the process through.  Here as in few other projects we've done, however, even we weren't precisely sure how
Falling Arches
For me, hitting the high notes in watershaping and landscape design is a product of careful observation, boundless imagination and detailed visualization.  These factors drive the design process, after which I transition into the more practical phases of the project with reliable engineering and quality construction. The early, creative phases can definitely be tricky, because they require many of my clients to take great leaps of faith, especially when what they're after is a highly customized environment - something truly unique. In those cases, we know that we at Artisan Home Resorts (San Jose, Calif.) are asking clients to visualize something nobody's ever seen before:  No matter how well we represent our ideas on paper or on a computer screen, the outcome will, to a certain degree, remain an abstraction until the everything is finished and working.   When everything finally comes together (as we believe it did in the project illustrated in this feature), a vision is realized and the payoff can be extremely rewarding, both for the clients and for those of us who worked hard to see the process through.  Here as in few other projects we've done, however, even we weren't precisely sure how
Cresting Waves
The idea that someone can enter a man-made body of water and go surfing is both exciting and a bit mind-boggling.  Perhaps that's why, as is the case with many a good idea, there's more than one claimant to the distinction of having built the first-ever wave pool.   Most people in the know trace the origins of these vessels to the early 1970s, and I know for certain that we at Whitewater West jumped into the game early on:  The company became involved in its first wave pool a year after opening its doors in 1982, and to date we've been involved in installing many of the hundreds of systems that now grace aquatic facilities across North America. As waterparks work to distinguish themselves, wave pools have become more elaborate when it comes to both themes and aesthetics.  In fact, in the 17 years I've been working on wave or surf pools for the company, I've seen these vessels grow dramatically both in popularity and in the level of the technologies and design details that make them