WELCOME … Grounding Landscape in a Virtual Semester

MLA I Welcome Package opening to reveal contents, paired with resulting student work from the Landscape Representation I course.

In the summer of 2020, in anticipation of the virtual semester, nearly forty “Welcome Packages” were designed, created, and shipped across the world to incoming MLA I students entering their first year virtually. The project, led by Emily Wettstein, Design Critic in Landscape Architecture, sought to ground and connect students in a distance education by pairing practical materials for various first semester courses, such as large-scale plots and 100+ laser pieces for their first studio site model, with more whimsical touches like an American elm tree leaf from Harvard Yard, a scale figure pop-up card, and a personal hand-written note. Every detail was considered — from packaging with high-quality vellum to be reused in drawings to a Mylar strip printed with the colors and lineweights for an AutoCAD CTB Plot Style to enclose the package contents. The packages proved to be indispensable for students’ first semester courses, but more importantly, students were truly touched, citing how they felt embraced, cared for, and truly welcomed into a community.

This projection pairs the unpacking of the package contents with the resulting student work from the first semester Landscape Representation I course, also led by Emily Wettstein. This course explores the generative agency of representation as a process of thinking, making, and designing through an exercise sequence focused on diverse conceptions of site, and site agents. Over the course of the semester, students are empowered to develop an iterative practice to articulate and advance their own representational voice and position. This projection overlays work from each student into a collective piece that traces our shared learning experience over the first semester.


Instructor: Emily Wettstein, Design Critic in Landscape Architecture
Animations by: Rae Pozdro
Duration: 1 min, 14 sec

Welcome Package Collaborators:
Melissa Eloshway
Jungyoon Kim
Joanne Li
Pablo Pérez Ramos
Fabrication Lab
Computer Resources Group (CRG)

Thanks to:
Anita Berrizbeitia
Jacob Lipton

Landscape Representation I Teaching Assistants:
Melissa Eloshway
Brittany Giunchigliani
Lucy Humphreys
Chelsea Kashan


During the COVID-19 pandemic, the galleries in Gund Hall have been turned ‘inside out,’ with exhibitions shown through a series of exterior projections on the building’s facade. View some images and short clips from this film’s screening below: