Kate practices landscape architecture to address global challenges of climate change and social and
environmental justice.

Kate Orff

Founder and Principal

Kate Orff, RLA, FASLA, is the Founding Principal of SCAPE. She focuses on retooling the practice of landscape architecture relative to the uncertainty of climate change and creating spaces to foster social life, which she has explored through publications, activism, research, and projects. She is known for leading complex, creative, and collaborative work processes that advance broad environmental and social prerogatives. In 2019, Kate was elevated to the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Council of Fellows—one of the highest honored bestowed on landscape architects practicing in the U.S.

Kate was awarded the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2017, the first given in the field of landscape architecture. In 2019, she accepted a National Design Award from the Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum, on behalf of SCAPE, and was named a Hero of the Harbor by the Waterfront Alliance. She was a 2012 United States Artist Fellow, dubbed an Elle Magazine “Planet Fixer,” and has been profiled and interviewed extensively for publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, National Geographic and more.

Kate graduated with a Bachelor’s in Political and Social Thought from the University of Virginia with Distinction and earned a Master’s in Landscape Architecture from the Graduate School of Design (GSD) at Harvard University. She is also the Director of the Urban Design Program, Co-Director of the Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes (CRCL), and Professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP).


Landscape Architect: New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, South Carolina, Minnesota, Arkansas
CLARB Certified



Director, Master of Architecture and Urban Design Program, Columbia University GSAPP
Co-Director, Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes (CRCL), Columbia University GSAPP
Professor, Columbia University GSAPP


MacArthur Fellow, 2017
USA Artist Fellow, 2012
American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Architecture, 2015

Additional honors include:

Urbanist of the Year, The Architect’s Newspaper, 2020
ASLA Council of Fellows, 2019
National Design Award, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, 2019
Waterfront Alliance, Hero of the Harbor, 2019
National ASLA Honor Award, Toward An Urban Ecology, 2017
Buckminster Fuller Challenge Winner, 2014
HUD Rebuild by Design Winner, 2014
Fast Company, “Most Creative People,” 2014
National Academician, 2013
Architectural League of New York “Emerging Voice,” 2012
MoMA Rising Currents Team Leader, 2010

Upcoming and Recent Lectures

Bezalel Academy of Art and Design / Jerusalem, Israel, January 2020
“Mission-Driven Practice,” ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture / San Diego, CA, November 2019
“Un-making the Landscape,” The Architectural League of New York / New York, NY, October 2019
“Workshopping the Green New Deal,” University of Pennsylvania, McHarg Center / Philadelphia, PA, September 2019
9th Annual Rhode Island Energy, Environment, and Oceans Leaders Day / Providence, RI, 2018
Designing Water Symposium / Longwood Gardens, PA, 2018
Aspen Ideas Festival / Aspen, CO, 2018
Park Pride / Atlanta, GA, 2018
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum / Boston, MA, 2017
Buckminster Fuller Institute / San Francisco, CA, 2017
Israel Landscape Architecture Conference / Jerusalem, Israel, 2017
Ninth International Biennale of Landscape Architecture / Barcelona, Spain, 2016
ASLA Annual Conference / New Orleans, LA, 2016
International TED Women Conference / Washington, DC, 2010


“Toward an Urban Ecology” (Monacelli Press, 2016)
“Petrochemical America” (Aperture, 2012)
“Gateways: Visions for an Urban National Park” (Princeton Architectural Press, 2011)