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Blog art croppedBy Jim McCloskey

In uploading this set of newsletter articles to the WaterShapes database, I was struck by the fact that two of them involve large measures of cross-disciplinary collaboration – in one case between a designer and two skilled contractors, in the other between a pool designer, a home designer and a skilled contractor.

As I’ve spent time these past few weeks thinking about what’s happened in the 20-plus years since WaterShapes first appeared – a pile of ponderings fueled by events within the Genesis movement through the past several months – it occurred to me that these two articles were of a sort that was as rare as hen’s teeth two decades ago.

Back then, lots of articles were written by watershape designers and builders who were striving to win (and hold onto) seats at the project table alongside architects and landscape architects – texts replete with advice on how to develop these relationships, earn trust and eventually get some respect. Twenty years later, multidisciplinary creative relationships are established and ongoing. Indeed, even if they are not entirely common, they are increasingly becoming normalized features of project development and execution.

Twenty years ago, in addition, the pages of the magazine were dotted with complaints about the all-too-usual fact that when watershapers did join project teams, they most often were called aboard too late to contribute fully – that is, past a point where their creative and technical input would have been of greatest value. In the two features highlighted here, the watershapers not only were on hand early, but in fact brought their expertise to the table well before it had been set.

I have to say that this is real progress: These collaborations are happening more frequently, and it’s not a surprise when this sort of teamwork comes up in discussions. In recent years, in fact, we’ve published enough stories where watershaping input was an early, crucial presence that articles in which watershapers joined the design team late are the outliers – not a thing of the past by any means, but no longer the norm.

I like to think that WaterShapes has helped encourage these connections: By drawing landscape architects in particular into our base, we’ve helped show them that watershapes should never be an afterthought because they are too critical a component of the design package. Our contributors have driven this point home countless times through the years, painting so many portraits of the consequences of late aquatic consideration that even stubborn project leaders are being more inclusive in assembling their teams.

Watershapers have done themselves proud in all of this, upping their games, learning the ropes and building reputations that merit early inclusion in project development. Again, there is room for growth – but it’s not a surprise that there’s been so much progress.

Boil it down, and it’s all about credibility. A few watershapers had it 20 years ago. Many have it today.

***

There’s been another prompt behind my recent sense of the passage of time: I am pleased to announce that our oldest daughter has just presented Judy and me with our third grandchild, a daughter, who now joins her older sister and brother in our hearts.

I won’t have a chance to meet her in person before Thanksgiving, but I’ve seen enough photos since she arrived October 22 that I feel quite up to speed – and proud beyond measure.

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