“A landscape is functional, aesthetic, symbolic. It is composed of the fundamental elements of earth – tree, water, stone – and evolves with the changing seasons, progressing through growth and transformation, life and death.”
~ Kenichi Nakano
For over four decades, Kenichi Nakano graced the Pacific Northwest with exceptionally subtle and inviting modernist design, generously contributed to community and civic life, and mentored generations of students and professionals of all disciplines. Recently, an engineer expressed, “Kenichi made me proud to be one of him – a human being – the man glowed.” This is a remarkable and profoundly accurate summation of Kenichi’s gift to all who knew him, and by influence, those who did not.
This is the impact the single individual can have on the larger whole. The physical results of Kenichi’s human centric work can be seen in his portfolio of work including the public community spaces of multiple Sound Transit stations and Seattle Housing Authority developments, and the award-winning Bellingham Arts District. His work is part of a modern design continuum extending from Hideo Sasaki, Richard Haag, Don Sakuma and others; all influenced by a life lived in the Pacific Northwest.
This body of work is the result of Kenichi’s values and commitment to the environment, individuals, and community. With a deeply ethical practice, Kenichi lead by example, one that is of critical value as we experience increasing urbanization, climate change, and the pressing need for innovative multidisciplinary projects.
Kenichi was one of the very first graduates of the University of Washington’s Department of Landscape Architecture in 1968. With the help of his family, friends, colleagues, and the University, the Kenichi Nakano Endowed Student Support Fund has been established to honor his years of teaching and mentoring that includes multitudes of students who have had the privilege to hear his stories, receive his advice, refine their perceptions of practice, and experience his remarkable ability to communicate the subtle with a single line on flimsy.
Short List of Notable Projects
- Seattle Center International Fountain and Mall
- Waterfront Park on Seattle’s Elliot Bay
- Sound Transit Stations
- New Holly, Rainier Vista, and High Point Housing Projects
- Bellingham Arts District
- UW Arboretum Japanese Garden Gatehouse