His career in water started in the late 1980’s as a student of landscape architecture at Cal Poly Pomona and working for a swimming pool construction company. He soon realized that creating water environments was not a fundamental aspect of most higher-educational programs at the time, which led Mark to pursue an opportunity in lecture and laboratory sessions for his peers while still being a student of the university. This rare comingling of water-based design and building concepts started a lifelong career for him in helping to guide how water was implemented within large-scale design programs and by elevating future generations of designers through his teachings at universities and trade-based events. His ability to speak directly to designers and to builders has allowed him to be a sort of translator between disciplines. Holdenwater is the culmination of this three-decade pursuit.


  • Cal-Poly Pomona University, Adjunct Lecturer and Lab Faculty (since 1994).
  • Cal-Poly Pomona Italy Extension, Tuscany, Italy, Instructor.
  • UCLA, Lecturer, Understanding Water: Design and Construction of Water Elements
  • ASLA, Lecturer, Introduction to Water in Architecture
  • Starwood Properties Hotel Engineer Cluster Meetings, “Swimming Pool & Spa Safety”
  • National Recreation and Parks Association, Water & “Public Art in Parks”
  • American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA), “Water Features”
  • Artistic Resources & Training (ART), Founder, Instructor and Administrator
  • International Pool & Spa Expo, “Architecture”
  • National Spa & Pool Institute (NSPI) – “Architecture & Water”
  • Aquatech / United Aqua Group, Instructor & Educational Collaborator
  • Master Pools Guild, Advanced Educational Program
  • LA Expo, “Water in Architecture”
  • Genesis 3 Design School (Founding Faculty), “The History of Water in Architecture”
  • Genesis 3 Design School, 20-hour art history class, “Architecture & the History of Water Design”

Awards / Associations

  • American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), Honor Award, Colony Park at Anaheim
  • American Institute of Architects (AIA), Citation Award (LA COTE LA Awards), Platinum LEED status, The Resort at Playa Vista
  • U.S. Green Building Council, LA Chapter (USGBC), Honor Award - Innovation in Design, Excellence in Water Conservation, The Resort at Playa Vista
  • Westside Urban Forum (WUF), People’s Choice Design Award, Citation Award, Mixed-Use/Built, The Resort at Playa Vista
  • Los Angeles Business Council (LABC), Los Angeles Architectural Award, The Resort at Playa Vista
  • California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA), Special Effects Award, Best use of unique methods or materials and/or special artistic effects, Village of Hope at Santa Ana
  • ASLA, American Society of Landscape Architects – Member
  • Luxury Pools Magazine Pinnacle Award – Judge & Foreman for Industry “Award of Merit”
  • Society of Watershape Designers (SWD) – Board of Directors, founding member
  • Association of Professional Watershape Designers (APWD) – Board of Directors

Writings / Publications

  • Robb Report (Spotlighted)
  • Christie’s Great Estates (Spotlighted)
  • Piscina Barcelona Newsletter (Contributor)
  • Pool & Spa News Magazine (Contributor)
  • Aqua Magazine (Contributor)
  • Watershapes Magazine (Since 1999, Columnist)
  • Landshapes Magazine (Contributor)
  • Orange County Living Magazine (Contributor)
  • Franklin Report (Spotlighted)