The Landscape Architect’s Guide to


Cambridge: Harvard University

Harvard Yard

Your Guide
Laura Solano, ASLA

“Simplicity and understatement are the prevailing qualities of Harvard Yard’s landscape, the result of a New England aesthetic that might also be termed frugal elegance. It is an almost completely built artifice that has evolved over more than three centuries of intervention and transformation. As a composition, the landscape and the buildings within Harvard Yard are inseparable. Yet it is the landscape—a simple order composed of a continuous ground plane of grass crossed with paths—that has retained the more enduring, timeless character. The lawn establishes a base on which a broad range of building types in various styles are sited. Overhead a high canopy of deciduous trees completes this majestic landscape. Combined, the lawn and the canopy unify the spaces of the Yard engender a unique sense of place.“

Michael Van Valkenburgh and Peter Del Tredici, "Restoring the Harvard Yard Landscape”, Arnolida, Spring 1994: 3-11

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