Located in Irvine, Calif., Woodbury is a 600-acre planned community with more than 10,000 residents.It was planned as a series of distinct neighborhoods within a pedestrian-friendly village framework. At the heart of the village is the Commons, a 29-acre recreational and elementary school complex. A 10-acre community park provides recreational amenities for the surrounding community, including softball and soccer field, basketball courts, a tot lot and community building.

Adjacent to the community park and elementary school within the Commons is the Woodbury Recreation Center designed by SWA Group, which worked closely with Aquatic Design Group. The focus of the park is a community building with meeting and multipurpose rooms and an outdoor courtyard. A special events lawn serves as a terminus to the landscaped “Esplanade,” which serves as a promenade between the village recreational core and the retail center. A series of pools and waterfeatures forms the primary recreational facilities of the recreation center. Four tennis courts and a basketball court are located within the park. Landscaped walks and courtyards create a cohesive framework for the park, providing connections between facilities and parking.

The pools and waterfeatures are designed to provide a diverse aquatic experience. The central pool is designed as a lagoon pool, primarily to serve the needs of the young families within Woodbury. The beach entry provides easy access for young toddlers and is ADA-compliant. Shallow areas are provided for younger children, while deeper areas accommodate older children and adults.

Next to the lagoon pool is a wading pool for the youngest users. Water Coils and other “spray features” provide a refreshing alternative to swimming. Limited access is provided between the children’s water garden and the lagoon pool to create two distinct areas, thus minimizing opportunities for youngsters to “roam” into the deeper lagoon pool. Shaded tables and chairs are provided for parents.

Immediately adjacent to the wading pool is an interactive water garden, with off-the-shelf and custom features. Special pavement has been designed to reflect the aquatic theme of this play area. The area’s central element is a custom-designed feature, a playful face overlooking the lagoon pool, with a “copper head band” of water jets randomly programmed to splash and entertain. Constructed of pre-cast concrete and tile, “Copper Top” has become a favorite playmate for the children of Woodbury.

The other pools within the recreation center have been designed to meet different aquatic needs. An “adult resort” pool offers a quieter, more relaxing atmosphere. There’s also a cabana for shaded seating and a spa. Immediately adjacent to the pool is a barbecue area, which provides a buffer to a sand volleyball court. Beside the resort pool, the spa is located in a small garden alcove and is designed to allow for unassisted ADA access through a transfer wall. Special lifts and/or attendants are not required. The third pool is an eight-lane junior Olympic pool, providing facilities for homeowners association (HOA) swim meets and water polo games. Terraced seating is provided for spectators.

This unique blend of aquatic elements for all ages is rare in HOA settings, which typically have more “one size fits all” pools. The ability to truly fulfill the needs of all those who live in the community with a creation that stands out makes this a dream design.