Richard Haag, 1923-2018

Photo by Joe Mabel

Who among us hasn’t delighted in visiting Gas Works Park to fly a kite, watch fireworks or enjoy a summer picnic? The 19-acre park, which preserved the rusting remains of a former gas plant, came to life as the vision of landscape architect Richard Haag.

The founder of the UW’s Department of Landscape Architecture in the College of Built Environments, he was known for his experiments with post-industrial landscapes and his pioneering work in bioremediation. He grew up around plants as the son of a Kentucky nurseryman and studied landscape architecture throughout college before going to Japan for two years on a Fulbright Scholarship.

Haag—the only person to receive two Presidential Awards for Design Excellence from the American Society of Landscape Architects—died May 9 at the age of 94.