Victory in Venice
  In a dramatic example of human ingenuity, Venice, Italy, scored a major victory in its fight to survive rising waters that have threatened its very existence. Nearly five decades in the making, the city recently raised a system of barriers preventing a potentially devastating flood.
2020/9.1, September 2 — European Influence, Veneer Details, Artful Waterfalls and more
Oasis in the Prairie
Editor's Note: Welcome to our new department, Open Waters. It's a space we're dedicating to the variety of the watershaping world. Here you'll find a rotating series of blogs, videos, book and resource reviews, stories about charitable works in the industry, and travelogues including this discussion from Watershape University's Lauren Stack about her recent visit to the Tulsa Botanic Gardens.   The property sits on a plateau known as "Persimmon Ridge" -- a 170-acre site likely a gift from a benefactor with roots in
Experiencing the Void
When WaterShapes went all-digital back in July 2011, there was one big story looming in the print-magazine horizon: That summer, as finishing touches were being added to the National September 11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan, we were all set to offer a behind-the-scenes look at the fountain portion of the project in a September issue that never materialized. This missed opportunity with the memorial has been somewhere in
A Chance Encounter
This is a tale of frustration followed by great joy. On my way home from the Atlantic City Pool & Spa Show last month, I paused in Philadelphia to spend three days visiting with two of my daughters. Beyond catching up with them, I had a mission: I wanted to see the remodeled fountain in Franklin Square. It was under construction the last time I visited, and my understanding is that it is now
Mountain’s Majesty
When my wife and I made the long drive from St. Louis to Los Angeles in October 2017, I knew that once we crossed the Missouri state line in Kansas City (the glorious "City of Fountains"), we weren't going to see any significant watershapes on the path we'd selected. We stopped in some great non-aquatic spots in Kansas, memorably the Wizard of Oz Museum in Wamego and S.P. Dinsmoor's Garden of Eden in Lucas. But mostly we set our sights on pushing through at an unwavering pace to Durango, Colo., with thoughts of the natural wonders we'd find thereabouts dancing in our heads. As we approached the Kansas/Colorado border, we had a stroke of luck: I received a call from a friend in Colorado Springs who, upon hearing where we were, offered to put us up if we'd take a little detour and head north rather than south once we reached Pueblo. It immediately put me in mind that a fountain I had long carried on the list of waterfeatures I wanted to see and discuss in WaterShapes was right there. I knew about this fountain because on the few occasions when we published a feature article in which an artist used a helical or circular form as the core of a sculptural fountain, I'd get a note, call or email from someone telling me that what we'd published was great, but if we really wanted to see something transformative, the Julie Penrose Fountain in Colorado Springs was beyond description and well worth a visit. Here was my opportunity at last: Our first day in Colorado Springs was filled with blustery winds, hoodoos and the Garden of the Gods, which let us reserve the whole of our second and final day for America the Beautiful Park, where the Julie Penrose Fountain occupies a special place. The winds relented and the day was fair and warm - but I was blown away just the same: The Julie Penrose Fountain stands more than 40 feet tall, and although I'd seen photographs, I had no idea either how large it was or that it turned on its axis four times an hour. I was overwhelmed - and moderately drenched when an unexpected breeze lashed us with water and mist shortly after our arrival. When we were safely back home, I put a note about the fountain on my long list of coverage candidates - and in the press of business a Travelogue I was truly keen to write slipped into a crack from which it has only now been rescued. As I began my usual research on the fountain's creation and history, I came across the video linked below. It offers such a detailed perspective on the fountain that I'm going to let it do the rest of my work this time. Although the narration is almost painfully low key, the video itself captures the majesty of the sculpture, the transient beauty of the fountain effect and the sheer joy of hanging out in America the Beautiful Park with the mountains as a backdrop - even if you get soaked! To see a video on the Julie Penrose Fountain in Colorado Springs, click here.
2020/1.2, January 22 — Small Considerations, Corporate Teamwork, Helical Sweep and more
Elusive Meaning
I'm drawn to water whenever I hear or see it - and this was a case where both factors came into play simultaneously. After spending a couple hours enjoying the garden portion of the Roberto Burle Marx exhibition at the New York Botanical Garden last September, my family and I spent some time exploring NYBG's other attractions on a leisurely
An Unexpected Treat
There have been a few times in life when I've turned a corner and gasped. Coming through the long tunnel into Yosemite Valley for the first time and seeing Bridal Veil Falls, Half Dome and El Capitan all at once did it for me. Seeing the Fountains at Bellagio for the very first time did it, too. Beyond that rare sort of experience, however, I've been pretty unflappable. Just a few weeks ago, however, gasping erupted again as I made my way through
Communing with Roberto
The great Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx has been part of my consciousness for many years. I first heard of him in 1991, when a friend who'd seen an exhibition about his work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York gave it a rave review. At the time, however, it was mostly his unusual name that stuck in mind. Then came 2007, when WaterShapes published an article by Raymond Jungles that recounted his experience in working with Burle Marx in Brazil and fully opened my eyes to the