Rick Klein, ASLA, Principal (1955 – 2016)
Rick Klein, ASLA, co-founding Principal of The Berkshire Design Group passed away suddenly on June 18, 2016. The profession of landscape architecture has lost a creative designer, businessman, marketer, outstanding teacher and friend.
After graduating from Ohio State University with a degree in landscape architecture, Rick went to work for Edward R. Bachtle & Associates in Wilmington, Delaware where he met his future business partner, Peter Wells. After several years, the two decided to venture off on their own and by mapping where LA firms were in the U.S., found that there was a void in western MA. Thus began The Berkshire Design Group in 1984 as the firm set up shop in Northampton, MA.
Rick worked tirelessly to develop the firm and in May 1991 appeared on the cover of Landscape Architecture Magazine with his partners under the heading Small Firms / New Faces. Rick guided the firm to add civil engineering and land surveying services, but was determined not to grow too big as he always relished contact with clients and putting his personal stamp on projects. He was a perfectionist from master planning down to detail design.
A former employee wrote “I owe Rick for everything good I learned in this profession. He taught me to work hard, but make time for fun, strive for excellence, learn all facets of the profession and most of all do great design. I am forever indebted to Rick for continuing my education after college.” Rick taught several classes at UMass LARP and a student from his last class wrote this email to Rick, “I can’t count how many times I’ve come across things you spoke about in professional practice. I believe your course was perfect in preparing me for the real world… and our class was fortunate to have you as a teacher.” One client wrote that “Smith College will miss his expertise and the careful planning he so meticulously brought to our campus.”
Those who worked with Rick have lost a consummate professional, dedicated boss, good friend and inspiring mentor. He was most proud of his two daughters, Elizabeth and Emily, who brought him great joy. His spirit lives on in them and in his numerous built works that have brought beauty and function into the landscape.
Donations may be made in his memory to the Rick Klein Scholarship Fund, to support the University of Massachusetts Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning.
Please mail checks to: Terry Rogers Trudeau, Department of LARP, 111 Thatcher Road, Ofc 1, Amherst, MA 01003-9357.