Director of Columbia University's Urban Landscape Lab to speak at ISU Oct. 21

AMES, Iowa -- Columbia University's Kate Orff will present the P.H. Elwood Lecture in Landscape Architecture on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at Iowa State University. Her presentation, "Design for the Anthropocene Era," will be at 6 p.m. in Kocimski Auditorium, College of Design.

Orff is a landscape architect, teacher and writer who works at the intersection of environmental design and urbanism. She is an assistant professor of architecture and urban design, and founder and director of the Urban Landscape Lab at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. The Lab is an interdisciplinary applied research group dedicated to affecting social equity and positive change in urban ecosystems. Orff leads studios and seminars that integrate the earth sciences into the design curriculum.

Orff also is a registered landscape architect and active design practitioner. She creates urban landscapes that are culturally rich, ecologically and programmatically textured, and interwoven into the surrounding urban network. She is a founding principal of SCAPE, which has won local and national design awards. SCAPE is working on seven active projects for the City of New York, a waterfront park for the State of New Jersey, the LEED platinum Ford Calumet Environmental Center in Chicago, and several environmental education centers.

In her lecture, Orff will explore "what does it mean to be a designer when the terrestrial, vegetal, aquatic and climate systems of the earth are changing faster than ever on record?" She will discuss the role of landscape architecture in the cultural reinvention of concepts of nature through built work embedded in communities. And she will present work of the SCAPE office and the Urban Landscape Lab as part of a larger discussion about new modes of building and teaching that aim to work critically within--and transform--the new realities of global environmental change.

Orff was named a Dwell magazine 'Design Leader' and Home and Garden's "50 For the Future of Design." In 2008, she received a National American Society of Landscape Architects award in the communications category.

Orff received a bachelor's degree in political and social thought from the University of Virginia, and a master's of landscape architecture from Harvard University.

The Philip H. Elwood Lecture Series in Landscape Architecture was established in 1997 to honor the legacy of professor Philip H. Elwood, who is credited with developing the Department of Landscape Architecture. The lecture series brings renowned practitioners to the Iowa State campus as guest lecturers each fall. This year's lecture is cosponsored by the Department of Landscape Architecture.

A reception will follow Orff's lecture in the college's Gallery 181 and Lightfoot Forum. The reception is in conjunction with an exhibition of work by landscape architecture students who participated in the Summer 2009 Rome Urban Design Studio. In addition, landscape student awards will be presented prior to Orff's lecture at 5:45 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.