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Sounds of Music
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Sounds of Music

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WaterShapes LogotypeEric Herman

When pursued as it should be, watershaping is all about creating a sensory experience. In fact, you could make the argument that watershapes appeal to all of the senses, where painting and architecture and music and other high-art forms tend to appeal to just one or two of them.

Watershapers play with the fragrances of plant material, for example, and with the sounds and tactile sensations of moving water and the lines of sight into well-defined and well-designed spaces. I’d also argue, given the fact that watershapes and surrounding areas are often designed for entertaining and dining, that appealing to the taste buds should also be allowed to worm its way onto the list of watershaping’s sensory achievements.

As more and more of you strive to create these “total sensory packages,” it’s not surprising to find that you are increasingly turning to outdoor sound systems to integrate music into outdoor settings. Indeed, requests for high-quality outdoor sound systems have increased dramatically in recent years, aided by manufacturers who have upgraded their products to meet the needs of residential and commercial clients who want access to all possible site amenities.

Marking this trend, two articles in this issue deal with the harmonies between music and water – one a technical piece about residential sound systems, the other about a choreographed fountain system in a public setting. In the first, “Sound Options” (click here), audio specialist Scott Sylvester covers a list of basic points watershapers need to consider in creating ear-pleasing backyard environments. In the second, fountain experts Ken Martin and Gerald Tester describe a landmark recently completed in the city of White Plains, N.Y. (click here).

In a sense, these two offerings represent the extremes of the technical spectrum when it comes to combining music and water. In that same sense, both demonstrate what can be done when you keep music in mind as you explore your client’s desires and the total sensory space they’re asking you to shape for them.


This month, the world’s best athletes will gather in Athens for the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad. To mark the occasion from our watershaping perspective, you’ll find “Reclaiming Olympic Gold.” Written by designer and engineer Ron Bravo of Rowley International, the story describes the restoration of the swimming pools used in the 1932 Games, the first of two Olympiads to convene in Los Angeles (click here).

Long since supplanted by the aquatic complex at the University of Southern California – which has served as the area’s premier aquatic-competition facility since the 1984 Olympics – the 1932 pools are registered historic landmarks and now function as an urban recreational facility. The restoration process involved returning the facility to its original beauty while updating it to modern standards – a painstaking process that required almost complete reconstruction of the vessels.

As the Games are rejoined in the country that was the birthplace of Olympic movements in both ancient and modern times, the project Bravo managed stands as a shining reminder of our own grand tradition of hosting international competitions – a spirit we’re proud to celebrate in these pages.

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