KURISU LLC located in Portland, Oregon, USA.
 Hoichi Kurisu, company founder, president and principal designer, began building gardens in 1972 to address a unique social purpose. 
Guided by the company vision to create restorative experiences which demonstrate the necessity of natural places to individual and collective wellbeing, Kurisu’s gardens reinforce the quality of humanity which our speed and information obsessed society often elides​.
 KURISU LLC has been using RIKCAD for designing and proposing garden plans. We had an opportunity to interview Ms. Lauren McCrystal, a design assistant at the company.

–Why did you take an interest in RIKCAD?

When I joined Kurisu LLC I was delighted to learn that the design assistant before me had been using the Japanese version of RIKCAD to create beautiful perspective renderings. Although I did not know any Japanese,I wanted to learn this program because I saw what excellent renderings she produced with it. 
 I was especially interested in the Japanese-specific design elements,which are not present in most other Western design programs. 


Was learning RIKCAD difficult? Did you have any struggles when you first started using it?

Learning RIKCAD was initially very difficult for me because I began by using my company’s Japanese language version. Since I do not understand any Japanese, there was a great deal of trial and error involved,so designing took a long time. Fortunately, the new English version has helped me tremendously.


What software except RIKCAD do you use when designing?

The primary software I use in the design process is AutoCAD.


What is the process from design to proposal?

All designs originated with hand drawing of the plan and perspectives from Mr. Kurisu,
and I take these drawings and input them digitally into AutoCAD.  

We go through several rounds of revisions, both internally and with our clients, before producing the final master plan.
I then use photoshop to color and touch up a
Final layout and annotations are done in Adobe Illustrator. 


How do you usually propose a plan? 

We usually propose a plan at an in-person meeting with a client. 
Beautiful drawings and renderings are a great way to engage client interest
Not everybody is accustomed to looking at a two-dimensional site plan,but everyone can appreciate a perspective image. 
RIKCAD allows us to present different views with ease, which can give our clients a better understanding of the design.


Congratulation on winning the Encouragement Prize for Japanese garden in RIK Perspective contest 2019! Please tell me about the concept and key point of the work.

Thank you very much. I had just begun to use RIKCAD at this time, so it was quite an honor to receive an Encouragement Prize.
I approached the design with the guidance of Mr.
Kurisu. At that time,we were preparing to begin construction on the Healing Garden at the Oregon State Penitentiary,
a maximum 
security prison in Salem, Oregon. As Japanese gardens have done for thousands of years,
this garden was
designed offer unique opportunities for self-realization, tranquility, and peace. 
For inmates who are experiencing depression, anger, stress, and total disconnection from natural elements,
recovering a sense of awe and appreciation for nature’s beauty can inspire transformation at the deepest levels.
The design I submitted for the 2019 RIK Perspective Contest reflects an early design idea for this project.  

From perspective contest 2019: The healing garden Photo credit to KURISU LLC. 


How long did it take to design the work? Any difficulties during preparation?

It took me about two weeks to create the model in RIKCAD, and several more days to render it properly.
I had just begun to learn RIKCAD at the time, so it took
me quite some time to figure out the best way to render. 
 I especially had trouble with making the water look realistic.
One very important
thing I learned was how to save a 3D perspective so I could go back to that same view.  


What are the merits of using RIKCAD?

The rendering capabilities in RIKCAD are phenomenal. I especially appreciate the high level of control one can exercise over the render settings.
I also appreciate the
wide variety of plant material, which is not often found in other architectural programs.
With the English version I have been very pleased to find a
comprehensive user interface, which allows for easy navigation. 


What are you expecting of RIKCAD in the future?

One of the best things that RIKCAD offers is the wide variety of plant material.
I would be excited to
see even more plant species included in the future.
And it would be wonderful to have even more
detailed organization for the plants as well,
especially if there were some way to organize the plants
by region or climate.  
Another thing we would like to see are more realistic boulders, especially ones that are rugged and look natural.
Kurisu, we rely heavily on natural boulders in our landscape designs,
so it would be
great to see a wider selection available in RIKCAD. 

As for myself, I know there are many features and functions of RIK CAD that I have not yet mastered.
I look forward to continuing to grow my skills and produce more compelling work. 

date January 30, 2020

Representative Director  Houichi Kurisu
location Portland, Oregon