Rosetta S. Elkin

Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture

Area Head, Risk and Resilience MDes area group




Rosetta S. Elkin is Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and an Associate at Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum. Her teaching and research focus on an expanded consideration of plant life. The work derives from a conviction that plants can reestablish a central position in a landscape architectural discourse. In her role as Area Head of Master in Design Studies in Risk and Resilience, her research and teaching explores the gaps between natural and social sciences found in the biological complexity of global greening projects.  These projects typically manifest as recovery, retreat, rebuild and other preemptive environmental programs that bridge fields and disciplines.

Elkin’s current manuscript describes the geo-political practices that underlie supracontinental tree planting programs by exploring the evolution and scalar application of plant life. The research examines the methods and means of planting through spatial and theoretical frameworks. Other research projects include the study of root systems in coastal defense strategies, state-scale ecological transformation in Rhode Island, and sea-level adaptation on barrier islands in Florida. Elkin consults and maintains a design practice that is firmly rooted in fieldwork and material agency. Teaching includes core studio sequence in landscape, research seminars, ecology and planting design. She was previously the Daniel Urban Kiley Fellow at GSD in 2012-13 and also served as faculty editor for Platform 6. Elkin was awarded the 2018 American Academy Rome Prize in landscape architecture.

As a registered landscape architect in the Netherlands, Elkin is the principle of rse-landscape, a design studio founded in 2007, which prioritizes exhibition and publication as design research. By situating installation projects as an important public scale, her work suggests a sequence of layered experiences positioned between physical engagement, photographic material and written provocations. Elkin’s work draws on the traditions of scientific treatise and the conventions of display in order to bring landscape architecture into a dialogue of critical practices. Most recently, the project entitled Live Matter has been supported and exhibited by Radcliffe Institute for Academic Ventures and EPFL in Lausanne.  Prior to joining GSD, Rosetta was a Senior Designer and Project Manager at Inside/Outside in Amsterdam, and taught at the Academie Bouwkunst and Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. Her work has been featured internationally, including projects at Les Jardins de Metis, Chelsea Festival and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and an upcoming installation at V&A London. Elkin’s work has been distributed and reviewed in Topos Magazine, Gardens Illustarted, Lotus International, Journal of landscape Architecture and Portal 9 Journal, and a number of edited volumes specific to the discipline. Her most recent publication Tiny Taxonomy (Actar 2017) indexes 3 design installations, while exploring the changing nature of fieldwork and the role of individual plants in practice.




  • Ocean State

    Rosetta S. Elkin, Curator

    NOV 3, 2014 – JAN 20, 2015