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Richard Haag (October 23, 1923 – May 9, 2018) was an American landscape architect. He worked on Gas Works Park in Seattle, Washington and on the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island. He founded the Landscape Architecture Program at the University of Washington and held multiple design awards. Richard Haag's modernist and minimalist ideals set the tone for northwestern landscape design.
Richard Haag was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. He attended the University of Illinois, the University of California, received his bachelor's degree in Landscape Architecture (B.L.A.) at the University of California, Berkeley, and his master's degree in Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.) at Harvard Graduate School of Design.
In 1958 Richard Haag joined the University of Washington faculty in Seattle, Washington in an attempt to start a Landscape Architecture Design program at the university. His efforts resulted in a Landscape Architecture Department by 1964.
At the same time that he was building up the program at the University of Washington, Richard Haag was acting as lead designer at his self-made design company Richard Haag Associates. Through his position at Richard Haag Associates he has generated over 500 designs and planning projects. His company, located in Seattle, closed on June 30, 2016 and he died in May 2018 at the age of 94.
- Gas Works Park—Seattle
- "Sequence of Gardens" at Bloedel Reserve—Bainbridge Island, Washington
- Battelle Research Center—Seattle
- Victor Steinbrueck Park—Seattle
- Jordan Park—Everett, Washington
- North Waterfront Park—Berkeley, California
- U.S. Courthouse Plaza—Spokane, Washington
- Washington Pass Overlook & Visiting Center—Winthrop, Washington
- Merrill Court Townhomes—Harvard-Belmont Historic District, Seattle
- Okanogan National Forest—Winthrop, Washington
- Gilman Village-Issaquah, Washington
Gas Works Park
In 1906 on a peninsula on the north shore of Lake Union the Seattle Gas Company constructed a coal gas plant. By 1956 the plant was shut down, leaving behind the old refinery towers. Upon purchasing the land in 1970, Haag was the person asked to develop a park design for the site. While most planners had expected the demolition of the refinery towers, Haag decided to keep them†. He did not incorporate them into the design for historic purposes, but rather to visually enhance the design of the park.
While convincing city government to accept this radical plan was challenging enough, Haag also had to develop a design which integrated bioremediation methods in order to detoxify the soil without transporting and replacing it. Haag and his colleagues suggested the use of oil-degrading enzymes and organic material in order to stimulate growth of microorganisms and to breakdown the toxic materials that were still present in the soil, left behind by the ancient industrial processes of the plant.
Before Richard Haag was asked to develop this design, he submitted the site as a design problem to a national undergraduate design competition. All 130 designs removed all indications that a gas plant ever existed. Haag took the environmentalist ideal to another level; acknowledging the potential aesthetics of industrial structures without the hazard to the environment. His design for Gas Works Park brought Haag his first American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) President's Award for Design Excellence.
Haag received his second ASLA award for his design titled "Sequence of Gardens" at Bloedel Reserved located on Bainbridge Island. The 140-acre (0.57 km2) Bloedel Reserve, deeded to the University of Washington in 1970, was again sold in 1986 to the Arbor Fund†. This non-profit corporation hired Haag as head designer for the site in order to maintain the company's dedication to "...developing, maintaining, and managing the reserve for public and educational purposes".
Haag split the land into four main garden quadrants. Each 'room' had a specific theme yet maintained certain qualities that fluidly connected the spaces together. The gardens are described as having been created in pairs; that garden one and three are a design pair and two and four are also†. Garden one and three are noted for their geometric-based designs. The first garden known as the Garden of Planes is described as being the most abstract of the four gardens. The third garden is the Reflection Garden; which incorporates the use of free-standing walls of yew and the introduction of a pool that uses reflection to enhance visual aesthetics.
Gardens two and four exude the theme of life and death. The second garden known as the Anteroom connects the Garden of Planes and the Reflection Garden. This garden teems with mosses, lichens, ferns, leaving observers with a sense of decay and death. Garden four on the other hand is known as the Bird Sanctuary and is the final garden in the sequence. This garden poses as the opposite of the Anteroom through its use of dark and still waters. The purpose of this garden is to attract various wildlife to its natural-looking design.
Achievements, awards and honors
- 2 time recipient of the ASLA President's Award for Design Excellence (only person ever to receive twice)
- Publication: Richard Haag: Bloedel Reserve and Gas Works Park
- Awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in Japan for 2 years
- In spring of 1996 Harvard University Graduate School of Design honored Mr. Haag with a symposium and exhibition entitled 'Exploring the Landscape Architecture of Richard Haag'
- Resident at the American Academy in Rome
- Principal of Richard Haag and Associates
- Founded U.W. Landscape Architecture Department
- Speaker in the Spotlight on Design Lecture Series at the National Building Museum 2001
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Richard Haag.|
- "Prof. Emeritus. Richard Haag." Landscape Architecture. University of Washington. 8 August 2018 http://larch.be.uw.edu/lapeople/adjuncts-and-affiliates/
- Olin, Laurie. "Richard Haag." Pioneers of American Landscape Design. The Cultural Landscape Foundation. 8 August 2018 https://tclf.org/pioneer/richard-haag?destination=search-results
- "Richard Haag." 1958. University of Washington. 24 October 2007 https://web.archive.org/web/20051130053512/http://www.washington.edu/research/showcase/1958a.html
- Saunders, William S. Richard Haag: Bloedel Reserve and Gas Works Park. 1st edition. Princeton Architectural Press, 1989.
- Richard Haag Studio
- "TCLF Mourns the Loss of Rich Haag | The Cultural Landscape Foundation". tclf.org. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
- "Richard Haag". web.archive.org. 2005-11-30. Retrieved 2020-05-18.