Teruo Hara, 56, a potter, sculptor and architect who gained wide recognition for his work in industrial design and ceramics, died of cancer May 27 at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He lived in Warrenton, Va.

A review in The Washington Post of a show of 168 of his pieces at the Corcoran School of Art in 1968 said his work contained "probably the most exciting examples of glazed ceramics being produced in the United States today." His work was classic, drawing from the best of Oriental and Western art traditions.

Another Hara show at the Corcoran in the 1960s featured a group of sake cups. He received a grand prix award at the 1958 Brussels World Fair. He was invited to participate in shows in Brazil, Italy, Japan, West Germany and at the Smithsonian Institution here. In addition to the ones at the Corcoran, he had one-man shows in Tokyo, Kyoto, New York, Baltimore and Miami.

In recent years, Mr. Hara had concentrated on architecture and furniture. He designed highly acclaimed homes in Kyoto and Warrenton and on Martha's Vineyard. Most recently he had completed a meditation center, the Wash-an (Peace of Mind House), at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass.

Mr. Hara was born in Chiba on Tokyo Bay on May 26, 1929. He was a graduate of Tokyo Kyoiku University, where he studied chemistry, engineering, design and ceramics. He became a member of the Crafts Group of Japan as well as the avant garde Sodeishu group of craftsmen-artists who rebelled against the rigidity of Japanese artistic tradition.

He wrote and lectured extensively in Japan and helped plan the crafts center in Tokyo. In 1958, he came to this country under the auspices of the American Craftsmen Council and the Fine Arts Committee. He soon gave a well-received show in New York City. Wishing to learn English and new American techniques in ceramic materials and technology, he worked and studied for a time with Design Technics in Stroudsburg, Pa.

He settled in Warrenton in the early 1960s. There he established the Kobo Group design studio. In the 1960s, he taught oriental glazing techniques at the Corcoran. He also had taught at the Haystack School in Deer Isle, Me., and at Mary Washington College in Fredricksburg, Va.

Having achieved the freedom he had long sought, Mr. Hara began to travel an artistic circle. Critics noted that he was going back to classical forms. Though his work may have become more traditional by Japanese standards, it retained an individuality that was fresh without seeming harsh.

Survivors include his wife, Tomoko, a weaver and designer who lives in Warrenton; three daughters, Louise Davis of Cambridge, Mass., and Mami Patricia and Sari Ann Hara, both of Warrenton.