The Architectural League’s 30th annual Emerging Voices Award brings a focus to creative practices that will influence the direction of architecture. Each of the eight firms will deliver a lecture at the Cooper Union’s Rose Auditorium at 41 Cooper Square in Manhattan. The
Oyster-tecture, a graphic project for the Museum of Modern Art’s 2010 Rising Currents exhibition, depicted an underwater landscape of active oysters helping to clean New York Harbor. But the graphics were backed up with a real-world pilot project that continues today through private funding at a site in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Recently, Orff worked with Alexander Brash and Jamie Hand on Gateway: Visions for an Urban National Park, a book on the Van Alen Institute’s challenge to re-envision the polluted Gateway National Park in Jamaica, Queens, and recently published by Princeton Architectural Press. The next book, Petrochemical America, due in April from Aperture, combines photographs of Louisiana’s notorious “Chemical Corridor” by Richard Misrach with Orff’s data mapping of the socioeconomic, cultural, and industrial death of the region.
If Orff’s books have the ring of manifesto, perhaps it’s because she wants most to rethink the governing systems entwined with the landscape. The layers of federal, state, and local jurisdictions overseeing the waterways alone are as convoluted as the “black mayonnaise” at the bottom of Jamaica Bay. Orff said that over the next twenty years she hopes to continue shepherding the landscape, whether through existing channels, like the EPA, or, better yet, by helping to design a new agency.