Satoru Nishita Death Notice
28 July 2013
Satoru “Sat” Nishita (B.S. Agricultural Science ’51) died on July 16, 2013 in Walnut Creek, CA. Nishita was born on July 4, 1927 in Castroville, CA and was raised in Castroville and San Juan Bautista, CA, where he gained an early appreciation of nature from growing up on his parents’ garlic farms. This sensitivity would inspire his passion for environmental beauty that would shape his design approach as an award-winning landscape architect.
During World War II, the Nishita family was relocated to Poston, AZ, where Nishita graduated from Poston High School. After the family’s release from the internment camp, Nishita enlisted in the United States Armed Service and served in the United States 6th Army Medical Corps, attaining the rank of sergeant before being discharged in 1947. He attended the University of California, Berkeley under the G.I. Bill and recalled the strong influences of Leland Vaughn, Thomas Church, and Lawrence Halprin, and in particular Robert Burton Litton, Jr., whose teachings helped nurture Nishita’s drawing abilities and environmental ethos. Nishita contributed sketches to the book Visual Notes for Architects and Designers, and emphasized the importance of sketching towards understanding the character of the natural environment and recognizing critical problems or opportunities in a setting. In 1951, Nishita married Yuriko Kumamoto, with whom he had five daughters.
He was one of Lawrence Halprin’s earliest employees in 1951 alongside classmates Jean Walton, Don Carter, and Richard Vignolo, and became a principal of Lawrence Halprin & Associates in 1964. Nishita was partner-in-charge and lead landscape architect for several projects, and he later formed CHNMB Associates and then Nishita & Carter, Inc. He retired from practice for health reasons in the early 1990s and was a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects, recognized for his exemplary body of work.