Transforming Santa Monica’s Water Garden Office Complex

Posted in News -

water feature

Since 1990, the prestigious Water Garden has been the Westside’s premier business environment, easily recognized by its expansive lake and lush landscaping. Now, OTL is helping transform the 17-acre complex to a modern workplace that better connects with its tenants while conserving California’s precious, limited natural resources.

With OTL’s help, the complex’s original 54,000-square-foot lake is being reimagined into an 11,000-square-foot river walk with bridges and dock landing. New and upgraded fountains provide gathering places and a more Zen-like feel. According to Erin Gallagher, senior technical designer with HLW, the project’s designer, reducing the lake’s footprint ultimately increases the overall usable square footage of the site while cutting annual water consumption in half. Additionally, the refreshed, “more relevant version of the lake” results in a more authentic water feature more in line with Southern California’s low water levels.

Specifically, OTL is responsible for the mechanical, recirculation, water quality and electrical components of three main water features: the 470-foot long river feature; a gateway fountain, which replaces an existing fountain; and a focal point boulder fountain being constructed on the existing podium deck.

Varying in width from 8 to 40 feet, the urban style river feature has vertical edges and textured bottoms, designed within a meandering overall shape with eight bridges crossing at various locations. Total water flow is expected to be 1,600 gallons per minute, utilizing two 15-horsepower recirculation pumps. A modern filtration and chlorination/CO2 system will keep the water at pristine quality.

A 68-foot diameter gateway fountain replaces an existing fountain while retaining its same size and circular shape. A center nozzle surrounded by four smaller nozzles – all VarioJets capable of producing effects ranging from single streams to water bells – will combine with 12 white LED underwater lights to create an ethereal feature to balance the complex’s urban design.

A new, circular 28-foot boulder fountain, featuring six artificial rock outcroppings and cascading water, represents OTL’s third water feature on the expansive campus. Within the mechanical system, bubbler discharges push water to the outcropping locations, each lighted by LED underwater lights. Six additional white LED lights located in the bottom of the fountain add drama while emphasizing a continuous flow of water cascading over the rocks.

Water Garden is a LEED Gold, Energy Star project committed to sustainable innovation and operation. According to Pat McRoskey of CBRE, Inc., the project’s leasing and management team, the lake transformation combined with drought tolerant landscaping, a reduction in turf grass and significantly reduced evaporation, irrigation and runoff, will allow Water Garden to save more than 2.5 million gallons of water annually.

The overall project is expected to be complete in mid-September with completion of OTL’s scope of work expected in May.

For more information about OTL’s expertise in water feature design and construction, please visit