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Kate Orff      

Sustainable Landscape Architect; Founder of SCAPE

Kate Orff is a registered landscape architect and the founding principal of SCAPE, a landscape architecture and urban design firm based in Manhattan. SCAPE has exhibited work at the Museum of Modern Art and will be an exhibitor at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale U.S Pavilion.

Orff envisions new forms of public space that reveal and revive the hidden ecological systems underlying our built environments and encourage urban residents to become active stewards of their natural surroundings. Her research and design practice addresses the challenges posed by urbanization and climate change (such as biodiversity loss and rising sea levels) through in-depth collaborations with ecologists, engineers, educators, artists, and community members that aim to make our urban habitats more adaptive and resilient.

Her work ranges from large-scale coastal infrastructure initiatives to the design of city parks, as well as book-length publications, museum exhibitions, and self-guided podcast tours that invite city dwellers to explore the natural histories of their regions.

She partnered with photographer Richard Misrach to produce Petrochemical America (2012), a two-part book that documents and visualizes the interrelated economic, environmental, and public health issues facing an area of intense chemical production along the Mississippi River, stretching from Baton Rouge to New Orleans. As well, dhe is the author of Toward an Urban Ecology (2016) and co-editor of Gateway: Visions for an Urban National Park (2011). Her essays have appeared in The Great Leap Forward, Waterfront Visions, Volume, Land Forum, and other books and journals.

After graduating from the University of Virginia with Distinction, Kate earned a Master in Landscape Architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard. In 1996, she was a member of a small research group focused on the urbanization of Pearl River Delta, led by architect Rem Koolhaas, which became the first case study in the internationally recognized Harvard Project on the City. Kate later worked for the planning and landscape architecture firm Hargreaves Associates and for OMA/AMO.

Orff has been named a United States Artist in 2012, a National Academician in 2013, one of “50 for the Future of Design” by H&G, a Dwell Magazine “Design Leader” and was featured in “Front Runners: 25 Young Designers Leading The Pack” by Azure Magazine. In 2017, she was the named a MacArthur 'Genius' Grant Fellowship.

She lectures widely in the U.S. and abroad on the topic of urban landscapes and new paradigms of thinking, collaborating and designing for the anthropocene era.

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