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Moment of Silence–Robert K. Murase, FASLA

Robert Murase, FASLA, at the Japanese American Historical Plaza in Portland, for which he won an ASLA design merit award in 1991. He designed the plaza in memory of the Japanese Americans sent to relocation camps during WWII. Murase, a third-generation Japanese-American, was interned at Topaz, Utah during the war. Carved visages on two free-standing stones flank the plaza entrance and a line of stones bear the words of internees. The serenity of 100 cherry trees contrast with the stark stone. The memorial was dedicated on August 3, 1990. Photos Courtesy of Murase Associates

“The positioning of stone in the landscape is an ancient and sacred tradition and has always interested me—from the stone walls and megaliths in Europe—to stone gardens in Japan.”—Robert Murase, FASLA

LASN was sad to hear of the passing of Robert Murase in a Seattle hospital July 19, 2005 following complications from a heart attack.

Mr. Murase wrote a profile of Murase Associates in the Nov. 1998 LASN, which displayed his award winning work in Portland, including the Oregon Convention Center’s Garden of Remembrance and the Oregon Museum of Science. Just this past Feb. hardscape issue, LASN noted his artistic collaboration with RNL in a feature on the Denver Civic Center Plaza design.

Robert Murase’s work is also displayed in Japan, the Pacific Basin and the Caribbean. He is the subject of Michael Leccese’s book Robert Murase: Stone and Water, and featured in numerous publications in the U.S., Europe and Japan.

Born in 1938 in San Francisco, he graduated from UC Berkeley and apprenticed with Robert Royston and Lawrence Halprin. He enriched his landscape architectural vision by practicing for nearly a decade in Japan. His garden for the Myodo Kyo Kai Buddhist Temple in Japan garnered an ASLA Honor award in 1975. Murase met and worked with Japanese stone sculptors, including Isamu Noguchi.

He taught in the department of landscape architecture at the University of Oregon in 1982, established his studio in Portland the same year and in 1988 opened a Seattle office. He was named an ASLA Fellow in 1994.

Murase is survived by his wife, Judy; sons, Shawn (Tokyo) and Scott (Portland); daughter, Aya (Portland); and mother, Yoneko (San Francisco).

Older Comments
Name: Flora NinellesWrote in with correction comment
Comment: In my comment just minutes ago on the impending damage to Robert Murase's Counterbalance Park in Seattle,, I made reference to my post in Facebook improperly, I believe. The post can be found at

Name: Flora NinellesWrote in with correction comment
Comment: One of Robert Murase's last projects, the small Counterbalance Park in Seattle, is in danger of being aesthetically damaged by a local community organization, Uptown Alliance. Uptown Alliance adamantly intends to scatter its own collection of basalt hackings around the park because it cannot afford the Scott Murase sculpture which Robert Murase planned before his sudden death. I am a dissenting member of the Uptown Alliance Parks Committee who is finding little help from others in stopping this. If you are interested, I refer you to Murase Associates,; LMN Architects, 206-682-3460, who worked with him on the Garden of Remembrance at Benaroya Hall; and to my raucus plea to the public on Facebook/QueenAnneView.


January 17, 2017, 11:46 pm EST

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