Kate Orff, ASLA, became the first landscape architect to receive a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, which carries a $625,000 award over five years for “originality, insight, and potential.” Orff was among 24 fellows named by the foundation today, who also included artists, activists, scientists, and historians.
Brad notes in passing that six (!) architects have won the coveted “genius” fellowship.
This first-time inclusion of a landscape professional reminds me of a similar trend at the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, the body that reviews important projects here in D.C. The seven Commissioners there now include three landscape architects – the most ever by two – and they’re all women. I reported the milestone in this post.
But back to Kate Orff:
Her description of the design firm she founded resonates with me especially: “We’re science-driven, research-driven, and activist in our approach.”
The MacArthur Foundation describes her work this way:
Designing adaptive and resilient urban habitats and encouraging residents to be active stewards of the ecological systems underlying our built environment.
Kate Orff is a landscape architect envisioning 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.
In reviewing her firm’s projects I noticed they include making self-guided podcast tours that invite city dwellers to explore the natural histories of their regions. Yet another example of podcasts permeating our culture, a trend I applaud!
Check out the other 23 recent MacArthur recipients to see what good company Kate Orff is in.
Photo credit – MacArthur Foundation.