MacLeod Reckord is turning 50 this year. Please join us in honoring our founders and celebrating, with our current team, a half century of excellence in landscape architecture. Our firm’s history began in 1968 where, in a small brick storefront building on Capitol Hill’s Summit Avenue, Donald Sakuma, professor of landscape architecture at the University of Washington, joined with Frank James and David Peterson to establish one of the few landscape architecture firms in Seattle at the time.
Don’s background included undergraduate work at Berkeley, graduate work at Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) and, upon graduation, launching his career working for Hideo Sasaki in Cambridge. In 1963 he moved to Seattle to work for Richard Haag, along with other notable designers including Frank James, Grant and Ilze Jones, Jerry Diethelm, and Miles Yanick. In these early years, as the local professional community grew, Don joined Rich Haag in teaching at the University of Washington.
In 1968 Don joined with Frank and Dave to form the partnership that was Sakuma James Peterson. The firm was created to a large degree in response to passage in 1968 of Seattle/King County’s Forward Thrust bond issue which, in addition to the Kingdome, funded public park development, waterfront access, and open space protection throughout the city and county. The firm was responsible for some of the area’s earliest park design and open space planning projects.
In 1972 Dave and Frank returned to the east coast to pursue their careers while Don continued to teach at UW and run the office. Don and his wife Pauline named their son Hideo in honor of Don’s early mentor, Hideo Sasaki.
With the firm now known as Donald Sakuma and Associates and with a growing workload, Don looked to his east coast roots for other landscape architects. Ed MacLeod (along with Bob Erickson who later joined MacLeod Reckord) was working for The Architects Collaborative (TAC) in Cambridge under the leadership of Walter Gropius, and Don offered Ed a position based on his resume alone. Ed and his family of three drove across the country to join Don in his office.
Work continued with a mix of public and private projects, and Don’s love of teaching was expressed both at the UW and in the office. His style of leadership was to encourage, motivate, and challenge his employees/students to think critically about design. He was a constantly supportive presence, guiding design, sketching, leading collaborative discussions, and staying late into evenings to mentor.
In 1974 Terry Reckord, back from a tour in Vietnam and newly graduated from the UW, heard of an opening at Sakuma’s office while working at Wilsey and Hamm (W&H Pacific) and, exhibiting a graphic talent similar to Don’s style and a keen aptitude for design, was promptly hired.
In 1975, while planting a tree in his back yard, Donald unexpectedly died of a heart attack at the age of 39. The young firm was perilously close to shutting its doors, but Ed managed to pull the team through those dark times and established Edward MacLeod and Associates that same year.
After several more years, as the practice expanded to include a wider range of public projects from parks and trails, campuses and sports fields, Terry and Ed solidified their partnership and established MacLeod Reckord in 1981. The firm continued to grow and by now was fully focused on public work.
The following year, in 1982, Connie Fuller, having graduated from the University of Virginia and working for Reiley and Associates in Charlottesville during that firms’ foundational year, drove across the country and interviewed with Ed and Terry for a job that, despite the recession at the time, finally materialized later that same year. A decade later, Connie Fuller became Connie Reckord.
For thirty years the firm evolved and was fortunate to work on a broad array of projects as a result of the strong design and professional service skills of the owners, principals, associates, and staff who were part of the MacLeod Reckord team all those years. The power, grace, and durability of our body of work is directly attributable to those dedicated individuals who were with us through those decades, and we thank them all.
In 2012 Ed and Terry transferred ownership of the firm to Connie, who retained the namesake as MacLeod Reckord PLLC. Ed and Terry are both enjoying their retirement, spending time with grandkids and pursuing interests set aside for years. Connie is now owner and sole proprietor and working with a team of talented, enthusiastic individuals who share her passion for quality park, trail, and urban design. MacLeod Reckord remains focused solely on the practice of landscape architecture. We are gratified that our work continues to provide benefit to the public and the environment and we look forward to continuing the fifty-year legacy.
The founders, principals, and staff have shared a common vision of providing design excellence in the public realm and the highest quality of professional service to our clients. Fifty years later we are honored to continue the tradition and thankful for the opportunity to build on the strength and reputation of the firm.