Murase Associates

Specialty: Landscape architecture, urban design, planning, public art
Management: Robert K. Murase, founding principal; Mark Tilbe, principal and Seattle office manager
Year founded: 1982
Headquarters: Portland
Current projects: Juneau, Alaska, seawalk improvements; Brightwater Conveyance System; Alley 24, Seattle; Seattle Community College’s Puget Sound Industrial Excellence Center; the entry to the housing development Apoch in China

After four decades in the business, Robert K. Murase sees big changes coming to his industry, and they mean opportunity for a new generation.

Lara Swimmer Photography
Murase Associates designed a plaza and green space for a private corporate client’s campus in Seattle.

“There’s an excitement about this new millennium. I think (landscape architecture) is going to change drastically,” he said.

The next generation will build on the legacy of such luminaries as Roberto Burle Marx, Luis Barragan, Isamu Noguchi and Lawrence Halprin. “The art of the gardens they brought forth in their modernist way is now the past,” Murase said. “Even my generation is coming to an end.

“I think there’s a lot of young new people who are going to build the excitement of this new millennium. I think you’ll see not only some wonderful opportunities but great work being done in the field of landscape architecture and public art.”

Sustainability will be the focus. “This is going to be the millennium of our environment,” Murase said. The Third World is going to be “real critical in the use of the world’s natural resources,” he added.

Murase said he thinks designers will be busier as the nation’s economy continues to apparently improve.

He said his company, which has about a dozen employees each in its Portland and Seattle offices, may add a staff member or two in 2005.

In the past, Murase Associates’ case load was evenly split between public and private clients. Several years ago the emphasis shifted to the private sector, and Murase said that will continue. Potential clients see the company’s work with stones and water, such as the Garden of Remembrance at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall.

“They react to it, and we get more clients requesting our services,” Murase said.

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