Nancy Chikaraishi is a licensed architect and practiced for 15 years in Milwaukee and Chicago architectural firms before joining Drury University’s Hammons School of Architecture in 2001. She is a principal of Art & Architecture, LLC. She received her Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies and Master of Architecture degree from the University of Illinois in Champaign. Awarded First Alternate in the Paris Prize design competition, she spent one year of travel and research in Japan. Chikaraishi teaches courses in Foundations of Design, Third year Design Studio, 5th year Thesis Studio, Architectural Representation, Drawing and study abroad courses in Travel Journal and Culture and Place. She had led summer study abroad trips to Paris and Berlin, Florence and Venice and Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan.
She recently co-led a Drury University student design build project for the 10,000sf Memorial Volunteer Tribute garden space in Cunningham Park dedicated to the 170,000 volunteers who came to the rescue of Joplin after the EF-5 tornado destroyed much of city in 2011. Thirty-five architecture students worked collaboratively on the design and details. All materials were donated to the project through student and faculty solicitations. Students worked with fabricators, contractors, sub-contractors and volunteers during the build. This project was completed during the “Seven Houses in Seven Days” Extreme Makeover: Home Edition season finale television show.
Chikaraishi helped write a multidisciplinary grant proposal for a TKF Foundation grant to compare Landscapes of Resilience in Joplin, Missouri and Detroit, Michigan. Each location would build an “Open Space Sacred Place” garden space. This grant compares the healing power of nature and community resilience of the tornado ravaged town of Joplin versus Detroit, which has experienced decades of physical and economic decline. This grant is a multidisciplinary effort by Cornell University’s Civic Ecology Lab, USDA Forest Service, Forest ReLeaf of Missouri, Greening of Detroit, Hamilton Anderson landscape architect of Detroit and Drury University’s students and professors of architecture, psychology, and music therapy.
Chikaraishi’s drawing research has explored urban space and imaginary landscapes. A solo exhibition of charcoal drawings, paintings and sculpture explored her parents’ experiences in the Japanese-American Internment camps in Rohwer, Arkansas. Her latest project investigates what lies buried beneath Table Rock Lake, a 43,000 acre man-made lake created by damming the White River in Arkansas and Missouri for flood control, electricity production and recreation in 1959.
Drury University faculty member since 2001
Professor since 2015