A fourth generation Colorado native, Laura Kirk is deeply invested in the western landscape and the people that live here. She has carved her own path of leadership by building a spirit of community and shared strength that celebrates the unique contributions of others. Laura joined DHM Design in 1991 and embraced the pioneering spirit of the firm when she and her husband, Dave Carpenter, opened DHM’s first branch office in Carbondale, Colorado in 1998. As the first woman President and Managing Principal, she has guided the legacy of the company and through her work, continues to positively impact countless communities across the west.
In a different age, Laura’s mother would have been a landscape architect, building on her love for the land. The family garden was designed by the first licensed female landscape architect in Colorado, Jane Silverstein Ries. Laura graduated with a Master's of Landscape Architecture from the University of Colorado in Denver and a Bachelor of Arts from Middlebury College in Vermont. She gravitated toward the field of landscape architecture, nurtured by civic and community-minded parents, who were integral to the creation of the Denver Botanic Gardens.
Through the course of her career, Laura has worked on DHM award winning projects at the state and national level, including National ASLA awards for Burlingame Ranch Affordable Housing and Wildhorse Ranch. She is a Foundation Trustee for the True Nature Healing Arts Center and past President of the Board for the Third Street Center in Carbondale. Her work in sustainability led her to join the Boards for Clean Energy Economy for the Region (CLEER) and the Sustainability Center of the Rockies (SCoR), championing efforts to develop policies and programs that aim for a strong and healthy environment. Throughout her career, her mentorship of women at DHM and in the communities she serves has inspired future leaders, empowering the next generation and laying strong foundations for career growth and success.
As a Certified Healing Garden Designer, Laura has a lifelong passion for creating opportunities to interact with the land in ways that restore and renew. At the True Nature Healing Garden, she worked with the design team and visionary owners to create a therapeutic environment shaped to support the healing work undertaken at the yoga studio and spa. The design incorporates several healing modalities and celebrates the connection between land and spirit, featuring a labyrinth, reflexology path, outdoor yoga classroom, and kiva building with zen garden and green roof.
Above all, Laura enjoys the diversity of landscape architecture with its constant cycle of discovery, challenge and gratification.
Statement: Realization of the Oberlander Prize through the 100 Women Campaign provides a lasting legacy, most importantly, for the incredible life and career of Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, a trailblazer with a remarkable portfolio of work. This campaign also serves as a reminder of the power of women as we honor and support one another in the diverse and ever evolving profession of landscape architecture. I am grateful to stand beside each of you in recognition of Cornelia.