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Male, born 1905-05-24, died 1990-06-15

Associated with the firm network

Bain, William J., Sr., Architect, AIA

Professional History


Draftsman, William J. Bain, Sr., Architect, Seattle, WA, 1940. He worked for Bain on 10/16/1940, when he filed his World War II draft registration form.

Principal, George Nakashima, Architecture and Furniture Design, New Hope, PA, 1943-1990.

Professional Activities

Member, American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Professional Awards

Recipient, American Institute of Architects, Gold Craftsmanship Medal, 1952. Nakashima received this medal at the 84th Annual Convention of the AIA in New York, 06/24/1952 until 06/27/1952. The award citation read: "George Nakashima, inheritor of great traditions, conscientious pupil of cunning and skillful masters, the American Institute of Architects is honored to confer upon you its craftsmanship medal. You have perpetuated in your work in the design and making of furniture of the high standards of past ages of handicrafts, and that respect for good materials and honest labor, that recognition of human use by rich or poor, that will in any age distinguish great craftsmanship; we salute your original and distinguished effort to employ the machine and its resources sincerely, to give our own day beautiful furniture and other objects, by whose standards we will not be ashamed to measure architecture."

Recipient, Fine Hardwoods Association, Annual Award in Hardwoods, Chicago, IL, 11/1956. Nakashima received this award from the Fine Hardwoods Association at its Hardwoods Industry Exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, IL. Its citation read "The Fine Hardwoods Association, on behalf of the Hardwoods Industry Exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, hereby awards to George Nakashima highest honors in recognition of outstanding design utilizing the inherent funtional and aesthetic qualities of hardwoods."

Recipient, United States Department of State, recognition of public service, Brussels, Belgium, 1958. Nakashima was honored in the American Program for the Brussels Universal and International Exhibition in 1958.

Recipient, American Institute of Architects, Miami Chapter, Award for Craftsmanship, Miami, FL, 11/1959.

Recipient, Architectural League of New York, Silver Medal of Honor in Design and Craftsmanship, New York, NY, 04/07/1960. Its citation read: "In recognition of the excellence of design, appropriateness of concept and materials expressed in his furniture and showroom in New Hope, Pennsylvania."

Recipient, Monastery of Christ in the Desert, Reward with Eternal Life, Abiquiú, NM, 1967. This Benedictine monastery, opened in 1964, presented the award to Nakashima, who was a devout Roman Catholic.

Recipient, Catholic Art Association Medal, 08/15/1969. This group operated from 1937 until 1970, founded by Sister Esther Newport (1901-1986). Its award citation read: "Holds that normal work combines truth to form with goodness for use, and in this combination achieves a holiness. George Nakashima clearly practices such craftsmanship. We ask him to accept this token as an expression of our gratitude for his example and admiration for his work."

Recipient, American Crafts Council, Award and Title of Fellow, New York, NY, 11/08/1979.

Recipient, Central Bucks County Chamber of Commerce, Silver Plaque Award for the Arts, Bucks County, PA, 1980.

Recipient, Japanese-American Citizens League, Gold Medal and Title of Japanese-American of the Biennium in the Field of Arts, San Francisco, CA, 08/1980.

Recipient, American Institute of Architects, Pennsylvania Society of Architects, Honor Award for Inspired Creativity and Outstanding Sensitivity in Design, New Hope, PA, 09/1980.

Recipient, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Hazlett Memorial Award for Excellence in the Arts, Harrisburg, PA, 05/22/1981. Governor Richard Thornburg (born 07/16/1932 in Pittsburgh, PA,) inaugurated the Governor's Awards for the Arts in 1980.

Recipient, State of Pennsylvania, Senate and House of Representatives, Citations, Harrisburg, PA, 05/28/1981.

Recipient, Japanese Foreign Office, under the authority of the Emperor of Japan and the Japanese Government, The Third Order of the Sacred Treasure, Tokyo, Japan, 11/25/1983. This award was made " recognition of Mr. Nakashima's contribution to better relations between the United States and Japan."

Recipient, Bucks County Commissioners, Distinguished Service Award, Doylestown, PA, 12/28/1983. This award has been recorded as having been awarded in 1983 and 1985 in Nakashima's notes. The former date has been viewed as more credible as it was more specific. The author James Michener (1907-1997) received a Distinguished Service Award from the Bucks County Commissioners in 1985.

Recipient, Holy Family College, Doctor of Human Letters, Philadelphia, PA, 05/1985.

Recipient, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Collab--The Contemporary Design Group, Collab Award for Excellence in Design, Philadelphia, PA, 04/10/1986.

Recipient, Pan-Asian Association of Greater Philadelphia, Achievement Award, Philadelphia, PA, 05/10/1986.

Recipient, National Arts Club, Citation of Merit and Bronze Medal of Honor, New York, NY, 04/14/1989. This award was bestowed "...for love and ability in woodworking."

Recipient, University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus, Seatttle, WA, 06/09/1990.


High School/College

Nakashima attended elementary and secondary public schools in Seattle, WA.

B.Arch., University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Seattle, WA, 1929.

Dipl., École Americaine des Beaux Arts, Fontainebleau, France, 1939.

M.Arch., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, 1930.

College Awards

Recipient, University of Washington, Seattle (UW), European Traveling Scholarship, Seattle, WA, 1929.

Recipient, Prix Fontainebleau, École Americaine des Beaux Arts, Fontainebleau, France, bestowed by the French Government, 1929.

Recipient, Harvard University, Scholarship, Cambridge, MA, 1929. This offer was turned down.

Recipient, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Scholarship, Cambridge, MA, 1929.



Born in Spokane, WA, George K. Nakashima spent his early years in Seattle, attending elementary and secondary schools there. After graduating from the University of Washington, he spent a portion of 1929 studying in Fontainebleau, France, at the École Americaine des Beaux Artsthere. Nakashima traveled extensively abroad between 1933 and 1940, in his own words, "about seven years (continuous) starting in 1933 through Europe (mostly France), Japan, back to U.S., Japan, India, Japan, India, returning to the West Coast in 1940. For about ten years one or two trips to India and Japan almost yearly, and a number of trips to Mexico on an architectural project. Total trips to Japan about 18, mostly in relation to manufacturing furniture in Takamatsu, Shikoku." (See "Personal History of George Katsutoshi Nakashima," University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections Division, George Nakashima Papers, typed manuscript.)

While traveling in Japan, Nakashima met the Czech-born architect Antonin Raymond (1888-1976), and developed a professional and personal relationship with Raymond and his wife, Noémi Pernessin Raymond (), a painter and graphic artist.

Nakashima and his family were interned at the Minidoka Relocation Center near Jerome, ID. His daughter, Mira, was born at Mindoka in 1942. He was released in 1943, when Raymond sponsored his move to his estate in New Hope, PA.

For many years, he and his family resided at his home and studio at 293 Aquetong Road, New Hope, PA. This property was on a larger estate owned by Raymond.


His father was Katsuharu Nakashima.


He wed Marion Nakashima.


He and Marion had two children, a daughter, ShizukoMira Nakashima, (born 02/11/1942 in Minidoka, ID) and Kevin Nakashima, (born 12/18/1954 in Doylestown, PA).

Mira married twice, first to Tetsu Amagasu, a classmate at Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan. She attended the Solebury School, New Hope, PA, Harvard University, graduating cum laude, in 1963, and then graduated with a Masters of Architecture from Waseda in 1966. With her first husband, she had four children, Satoru, Maria, Shanti and Misha. She then married Jonathan Yarnall.

Kevin also attended the Solebury School, and Sophia University in Tokyo, "...studying Far Eastern History and Japanese, as well as Tae Kwan Do Karate." (See Nakashima Foundation for, "Board Members & Advisors," accessed 09/23/2019.)

Biographical Notes

After spending 1937 and 1938 studying with Sri Aurobindo, Nakashima received the Sanskrit name of renunciation "Sundarananda," or "one who delights in beauty." This occuurred in Pondicherry, India, 1938.

In 1940, Nakashima's draft registration card indicated that he stood 5-feet, 6-inches tall, weighed 135 pounds, and had brown eyes and black hair. (See, Source Citation The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Washington, 10/16/1940 - 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 128, accessed 09/23/2019.)

Associated Locations

  • Spokane, WA (Architect's Birth)
    Spokane, WA

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  • New Hope, PA (Architect's Birth)
    New Hope, PA

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PCAD id: 3781