Rosetta S. Elkin

Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture

Area Head, Risk and Resilience MDes area group

Rosetta Sarah 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. As Area Head of Master in design Studies in Risk and Resilience, her work exposes the biological complexity of global greening projects, implicit in recovery, retreat and preemptive environmental programs.

Elkin’s current research manuscript (supported by the Graham Foundation, Dutch Fonds BKVB, and Canada Council for the Arts) explores the geo-political practices of supracontinental tree planting programs. 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 teaches in the core studio sequence and leads seminars in fieldwork 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. Her forthcoming publication, Tiny Taxonomy (Actar 2017) deliberates on the scale of gardening in practice, by indexing three built projects.

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 as a series of layered experiences between physical engagement, photographic material and written provocations, her work draws on the traditions of scientific treatise and the conventions of display. Most recently, the project entitled Live Matter has been supported and exhibited by Radcliffe Institute for Academic Ventures and EPFL in Lausanne.  Her work has been featured internationally, including projects at Les Jardins de Metis, Chelsea Festival and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and in publications such as Topos Magazine, Lotus International and Portal 9 Journal. 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.




  • Ocean State

    Rosetta S. Elkin, Curator

    NOV 3, 2014 – JAN 20, 2015