10. Kotaro Nakamura – Architect/Professor – Teaching and Designing for the Public

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Kotaro Nakamura is an Architect and partner in Roesling Nakamura Terada Architects in San Diego and Ventura, California. He is also a professor and currently the Interim Director of the School of Art and Design at San Diego State University. He has been a professor for over 30 years while also running his private design practice with his partners.  The main focus for his firm is public works, especially schools. In our conversation we discuss the idea of building communities, resilient design,  creating a stable business model, how Design Build is affecting Architects, and his philosophy on educating young designers.




Show Notes


Kotaro Nakamura – Architect/ Professor


Partner Roesling Nakamura Terada Architects

San Diego, California


Interim Director and a professor of the School of Art and Design at San Diego State University


Education: San Diego State University Master of Arts in Environmental Design

Kanto Gakuin University Bachelor Science in Environmental Engineering


Size of Firm: 33


Project Types: Nature Center, Community Center, Schools, Transitional Housing, Public Utility


Topics we discuss in our conversation:


Founding philosophy; Create well designed projects for the general public

The importance of Interdisciplinary interaction

The importance of Construction Administration

How Teaching affects Kotaro’s design practice

Balancing mission with financial success

Young business strategy vs. mature business

How measuring time and cost supports better job pricing

Stability in the business through diversification of project types

The affect of Design-Build on Architects

The challenge of managing cash flow for the business

Recommended skills to develop for up and coming designers



Fixed fees


Profit Generators:

Design & Construction documents

Construction Administration


Marketing Strategy:

Target public request for proposals and bids


Preferred Technology:



Links & Resources Mentioned:


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