The term "water feature" seems almost lame compared to the possibilities it entails—from the cooling effects of evaporating water to the serene dripping noise of a foundation, H20 is can be as diversely used as any solid material.
In Arlington, Virginia, architecture firm Höweler + Yoon contends with spatial and budgetary constraints to carve a microcourtyard, complete with Japanese maples and a cascading concrete fountain, in just 200 square feet. They squeezed high-design landscape elements, like a fountain and built-in seating, into a small 15-by-13-foot space.
The architect and her parents selected plants—water hyacinth to float in the water. Metal channels guide water from tier to tier.
Landscape designer Bernard Trainor masterminded this seamless garden to surround a Silicon Valley Eichler. A contractor drilled holes in this boulder, creating a fountain that he placed in the backyard outside the master bedroom, where the sound of water lulls the residents to sleep.
For men of the cloth, architecture has always been one earthly delight they've been encouraged to indulge. In Arizona, DeBartolo Architects continues the tradition in a rather unorthodox manner for this Jesuit campus. The DeBartolos wanted to keep the desert tradition of incorporating water near the entrance of the house as a sort of welcome mat, but they skipped the faux hacienda fountain found throughout Arizona in favor of twin sheets of four-by-eight-foot steel plates that water pours over. Making the unusual fountain from standard-sized materials, which will weather naturally over the years, kept the cost down, too.
To pave the way for their modernist intentions, DeBartolo Architects gave their Jesuit clients copies of Tadao Ando’s The Colours of Light and John Pawson’s Minimum as Christmas gifts. The architects were surprised when the priests started quoting the books back to them, and copies of both still sit out on a coffee table.
A design-build firm with a flair for modernism—Phil Kean Design Group—created this stylish indoor-outdoor living space in Winter Park. The red door was the resident's idea, says Phil Kean, president of the firm. It adds a spash of color to the front courtyard, which is simply landscaped with gravel and low-maintenance plants. A water feature was installed next to the James Hardie fiber-cement siding.
Smitten from the start with a 1970s concrete villa in rural Belgium, a resident and her designer embark on a sensitive renovation that excises the bad (carpeted walls, dark rooms) and highlights the good (idyllic setting, statement architecture).