(Alpenglow Park | Photo courtesy of Katrina Langenderfer Landscape Architecture)
Katrina Langenderfer influences Bend through Landscape Architecture
Katrina Langenderfer Landscape Architecture (KLLA) is a full service landscape architecture firm that was founded in 2012 with a commitment to providing clients exceptional service along with a collaborative design process, through the use of responsive and open communication.
“We recognize the unique nature of every project and we strive to meet our client’s expectations with innovative site-specific design solutions within both urban and natural environments,” said the firm’s founder and namesake, Katrina Langenderfer.
Katrina grew up in small-town Michigan, and recalls spending summers exploring the Great Lakes region and camping with her family. With a wealth of public lands to explore, Katrina grew up with an appreciation for nature and conservation, “From a young age, I knew I wanted to pursue a career path that would allow me to make a positive impact on both manmade and natural environments,” Katrina said.
An influential learning experience would come in 2001, when Katrina was attending Michigan State University. She spent that summer interning for the National Park Service in Grand Teton National Park, working alongside the park’s landscape architects and other professionals, like historians and biologists. “This cemented my passion for creating outdoor spaces,” Katrina said. “I knew I wanted to work in a collaborative environment with a diverse set of professionals.”
Upon graduating in 2002 with a degree in landscape architecture, Katrina took a job at a multi-disciplinary engineering firm that had an open position in Oregon. “Here I contributed to a wide variety of projects that included riparian and wetlands restoration projects, parks, trails, streetscape and highway infrastructure development, and general commercial and residential developments,” she said. “This firm transferred me to its Bend office in 2005, and I have called Central Oregon my home ever since.”
Having led her firm now for over a decade, Katrina still finds herself chasing those ideals that she felt while growing up; to positively impact both manmade and natural environments. As such, KLLA provides architectural expertise on projects like park and recreation facilities, sport and field facilities, urban design, streetscapes, public infrastructure and more. “Providing landscape architectural services for parks and outdoor public spaces is one of my firm’s niches,” she said.
With Central Oregon’s population growing at such a rapid rate, KLLA has found themselves working on a diverse range of projects, serving both public and private clients. During the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Bend Park and Recreation district unveiled three new or renovated parks: the Juniper Park Playground renovation, Empire Crossing Park and Pacific Crest Athletic Fields. All of these projects included landscape architectural design from KLLA.
“The timing for these projects opening could not have been better, as the demand for parks, open spaces and trails was high,” Katrina said. “I think all of us were feeling a little cooped up indoors and looking for fun, new places to spend time and explore outside.”
Another project that KLLA collaborated on, the 37-acre Alpenglow Community Park, had its grand opening last summer. “It was wonderful to see so many people enjoy the park on opening day and bring the space to life,” Katrina said.
Looking to the future, Katrina hopes to continue producing high quality projects while remaining conscious of the social issues related to urban expansion, “I think we need to evolve our designs to meet our region’s shifting climate and environmental conditions,” she said. “As the built environment continues to encroach into prior undeveloped landscapes, local landscape architects have a significant role to play when initiating ethical design in these spaces.”
For Bend’s growing population, Katrina sees more high density housing in the town’s future. To accommodate for this somewhat new style of development, she and her firm expect to see an emphasis on building and maintaining public spaces like parks and trails. “I believe the development of public and open spaces like these will be key to significantly increasing the livability of our existing and new neighborhoods.”
Aside from parks, trails and other open spaces, Katrina hoped to positively impact the future of Bend by guiding other projects around the city, “I hope to continue working on streetscape and infrastructure projects that provide not only vehicular transportation options, but also provide safe multimodal options for cyclists and pedestrians as well,” she said. “Improved regional connectivity, as Central Oregon continues to grow will strongly influence the livability of our High Desert cities.”