Place Making and Public Art: Lake Side Terrace and Shimmer

West Des Moines, Iowa. 2009

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Shimmer and Lakeside Terrace within the Village of Ponderosa won the highest award in 2012 from the Iowa Chapter of ASLA and the highest award in its category from the Central States ASLA in 2014.  This eco-friendly water feature designed by Dennis Reynolds, combines sculptural aluminum with sustainable re-circulating pond water to create an integrated art+environment that supports the riparian environment and public activities.   Cool water is drawn from the bottom of the pond and re-circulated through Shimmer’s series of weirs and riparian vegetation before dropping ten feet back into the pond.  The terraced central lawn, concrete retaining seat walls along with the aluminum forms of Shimmer and custom benches are sculpted to create flowing and diverse opportunities for seating and special events.  The sculptural aluminum seating is surprisingly comfortable in all seasons.  A seven foot grad change from Market Street to Crescent Lake is leveraged and enhanced to create visual drama and form diverse spaces.  “Henry” the Blue Heron likes to fish at the base of Shimmer where bass and bluegill gather as the cool water with fresh food sources falls back into Crescent Lake.  Lighting and the setting sun create shimmering effects on the raw, buffed aluminum.  A theatre inspired Gobo light mounted inside the clock tower provides a soft, blue-green glow similar to a strong full moon for popular evening events and dining.  Gently sloping walkways at four to five percent slopes are integrated alternatives to steps.  Even during long cold winters, Shimmer’s aluminum form provides a sculptural “stream” as environmental art.