Local Hero: Ted Tokio Tanaka, FAIA

Ted Tokio Tanaka, FAIA

Over the past 35 years, Ted Tokio Tanaka, FAIA, has made significant contributions to the cultivation of Greater Los Angeles urban landscapes. Tanaka's architecture reflects his commitment to the creation of innovative spaces that assert clarity, simplicity, and elegance. His unique blend of artistic elegance and pragmatism asserts itself in his community involvement, as well, especially in his leadership of the Asia American Symphony Organization.

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Born in Japan, Tanaka moved with his family to the United States at the age of 15. After he received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Arizona State University at Tempe, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his career, eventually founding his own architectural firm in Venice, California. He has since designed countless public, private, commercial and residential projects in the Greater Los Angeles region and abroad. His architectural projects in Los Angeles comprise some of the most modern and distinctive landmarks in the entire city, including the well-known Los Angeles International Airport Beautification Enhancements Project that culminated in the famous neon pylons adorning Century Boulevard. Tanaka also won numerous private sector awards for his designs of residential houses in Japan and Southern California. In 1994, the American Institute of Architects honored Tanaka by electing him to the College of Fellows for his outstanding work in the area of Design Category, the highest award that the organization can bestow upon any architect.

Along with his professional goals, Tanaka has made extensive contributions to the Los Angeles Community. He served as President of American Institute of Architects/LA, first Asian president in the 100 year history of AIA/LA, President of Asian American Architects and Engineers Association and Chair of Board of Governors at Otis College of Art and Design. Owing to his multi-faceted and deep appreciation for all kinds of art, Mr. Tanaka also cultivates a passion for music. He has devoted countless hours of time, energy and leadership at the Asia American Symphony Association, presenting outstanding musical pieces that showcase the same variety of cultural influences evidenced in his architectural design-elegant fusions of classical tonality and jazz improvisation, equally influenced by Western and Eastern traditions. He takes special pride in providing these musical experiences to the Asian Community, as well as the educational and performance opportunities afforded to both professional Asian musicians and members of the youth orchestra. In 2011, Tanaka will serve his 13th year as the President of Asia America Symphony Association, commemorating the organization's 50th Anniversary.

Ted Tokio Tanaka resides with his wife, Masako, in Marina Del Rey. He looks forward to working on the completion of the Metro Regional Connector, a decade-long project designed to unite the Gold and Blue lines of the LA Metro system, bringing even greater cohesion between Little Tokyo and points beyond in Los Angeles.


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