Architecture, UW [Canadian Construction]

Architecture, UW

Thaisa Way's book on landscape architect Richard Haag was published by University of Washington Press.Thaisa Way is an associate professor of landscape architecture in the University of Washington College of Built Environments and author of “The Landscape Architecture of Richard Haag: From Modern Space to Urban Ecological Design.” She answered a few questions about the book and the work of Haag, whom she often fondly calls “Rich.”

Q: Here we have an affectionate and detailed biography of Richard Haag, well-known landscape architect and founder in 1964 of the UW’s landscape architecture department. How did you come to write this book?

Below: Gas Works Park seen soon after it opened in 1975.TW: When I arrived in Seattle to teach at the UW in 2007, I needed a project that would ground me in my new place — so as a historian I looked for a good story, one that would allow me to discover this place and the community I had joined. Rich Haag was a terrific story as he had founded the department I was now teaching in and he was known for pushing the boundaries of design, something I wanted to do as a teacher and writer.

Way and Haag at Town Hall Seattle
A discussion titled “Modern Impacts of Pacific Northwest Landscape Design”
June 10, 7:30 p.m.,
tickets, information online.

Q: Haag spent 1953 to 1955 in Japan on a Fulbright Fellowship. How did his time there affect his later career? What influences from that time can be seen in his public work?

TW: There is a whole chapter on this so I will refrain here, except to say that Rich’s photographs of Japan inspired a whole generation of architecture students to become landscape architects — including Laurie Olin, Grant Jones, Bob Hanna, and Frank James among others. Rich’s view of the world is deeply embedded in a mix of his Kentucky youth and his Japan experience.


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