KTU+A was founded in 1970 in San Diego as Kawasaki Theilacker & Associates (KT&A) by landscape architects Frank Kawasaki, FASLA and Michael Theilacker, FASLA. Don Ueno, ASLA joined the firm in 1971 and the company name was changed to KTU+A in 1988. From the very beginning, Frank, Michael and Don set the standards high: use your creative talents; establish and maintain a good relationship with your clients; and treat your employees as if they were family. The results... an award-winning firm that has maintained this basic philosophy while growing into one of the largest and most diverse planning and landscape architecture firms in San Diego County.
Frank, Michael and Don were the landscape architects on a number of landmark projects in the region, including: Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego; Palm Arboretum, Balboa Park, San Diego; Bonita Cove, Mission Bay, San Diego; Embarcadero from Broadway Pier south to Seaport Village, San Diego; G Street Mole, San Diego Bay, San Diego; Shelter Island Street Improvements, San Diego; Scripps Mercy Hospital Entry Park and Fountain, San Diego; Park Row and Pantoja Park, downtown San Diego; Le Meridien Resort Hotel, Coronado; Torrey Pines Science Park, San Diego; Children's Hospital and Health Center, San Diego; and Founders Plaza, Balboa Park, San Diego.
During their tenure, KTU+A was also the campus landscape architect for both the University of California San Diego, and San Diego State University. A number of projects were also completed on the University of San Diego and Point Loma Nazarene campuses.
Michael Theilacker was also sought out for his residential design abilities, working on many estates in Rancho Santa Fe, Fairbanks Ranch, La Jolla, and throughout San Diego County. He was also invited to design private residences in Mexico and France.
Frank, Michael and Don are now enjoying retirement, and principals Kurt Carlson, Mike Singleton, and Sandy Swaner-Carmona have stepped up to the plate to carry on their legacy. Kurt is the principal-in-charge of the landscape architecture section, Mike is the principal-in-charge of the planning section, and Sandy oversees all KTU+A federal planning projects.
From the firm's humble beginnings working out of Michael Theilacker's house, KTU+A is now working on projects throughout the United States, with a focus on the southwest.