The Radcliffe Institute announces the opening of its third biennial public art competition to design an installation for the Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Garden in Radcliffe Yard.

Open to all students enrolled in a Harvard degree program, the Public Art Competition provides them with a unique opportunity to design and build a site-specific installation for prominent display in the Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Garden in Radcliffe Yard.  

Radcliffe will offer a week-long free workshop during the 2016 January Wintersession, open to all students intending to submit proposals for the Public Art Competition. Harvard undergraduates are particularly encouraged to register to participate. 

Bold, provocative designs are encouraged, and a jury of distinguished Harvard faculty assess the student submissions on the basis of creativity, and construction and budget feasibility.

Download the Radcliffe Institute Public Art Competition Brief (PDF)

If you have any questions, please contact or call 617-495-8185.

Rules and Regulations

These rules and regulations may change at any time, at the discretion of the Radcliffe Institute.


The competition is open to all students currently enrolled in a Harvard degree program. In the case of teams, all team members must be currently enrolled in a Harvard degree program. 

The winner must be present in greater Boston from June 1, 2016, to September 1, 2017, to participate in design development and construction preparation. Participation will include regular design and construction development meetings. In the case of teams, a point person must be nominated to oversee construction, in collaboration with the Radcliffe Institute, during this time period.


The student or team of students will retain all rights to the idea and design. The Radcliffe Institute retains all rights to the submitted materials (board, description, and budget), as well as to the final installation and all related materials. Radcliffe reserves the right to display, photograph, or otherwise record all submitted materials.


The installation must be capable of withstanding all weather conditions for the duration of display.

No changes may be made to any existing trees, plantings, or landscape elements (light fixtures, walkways, benches, etc.). The installation must be respectful of all existing plantings and trees around the stone dust plaza. The maximum depth for digging in the stone dust plaza is 6”. The completed installation must be contained within the dimensions of the stone dust plaza (72’ x 54’). 

Equipment access is limited to a small bobcat from the access road next to Putnam House.

All submissions must be compliant with the City of Cambridge laws and regulations, as well as those regulations stipulated by the Radcliffe Institute and Harvard University.

Wintersession Workshop

Radcliffe Institute Public Art Competition: Designing for Public Space
with Julian Bonder
Tuesday, January 19, through Saturday, January 23, 2016
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Arts @ 29 Garden

Register by December 11, 2015 to participate in the workshop.

For questions contact

This intensive workshop prepares students to compete in the Radcliffe Institute Public Art Competition, a unique opportunity to build a site-specific installation for prominent display in the Wallach Garden in Radcliffe Yard. Students will be exposed to the rich history and practice of public art and will be mentored in the technical aspects of creating proposals exclusively for the competition. Participating students must submit an intent to apply form to the Radcliffe Institute Public Art Competition, register for the workshop by December 11, 2015, arrive with an idea that can be developed at the workshop, and attend all six days.

About the Instructor
The workshop is led by Julian Bonder (MDes ’96), an architect and professor of architecture at Roger Williams University whose work and scholarship focus on the relationship between memory, trauma, and public space. Most notably, he collaborated with Krzysztof Wodiczko on Mémorial de l’abolition de l’esclavage (Memorial to the Abolition of Slavery) in Nantes (France). Bonder will teach alongside visiting experts in public art, design, and proposal development.


December 11, 2015

January 29, 2016

  • Submissions due

February–March 2016

  • Selection jury meeting to determine a short list
  • Short-listed designers prepare jury presentations
  • Short-list designs reviewed for feasibility

April 2016

  • Announcement of winning design

May–June 2016

  • Design development begins

June–October 2016

  • Design development and preparation of construction documents

October 2016–March 2017

  • Construction documents completed and project bidding

June–September 2017

  • Construction

September 2017

  • Installation opening


Lizabeth Cohen, dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

Anita Berrizbeitia, chair of the department of landscape architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Yukio Lippit, professor of history of art and architecture and Director of the Arts Program, Johnson-Kulukundis Family Faculty Director of the Arts at the Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University 

Chris Reed, associate professor in the practice of landscape architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design, and principal, Stoss Landscape Urbanism

Matt Saunders, assistant professor of visual and environmental studies, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Diana Sorensen, dean of arts and humanities, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and James F. Rothenberg Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and of Comparative Literature, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences

About the Site

The installation site was created as part of Radcliffe’s comprehensive Landscape Masterplan, which called for the renovation of the entirety of Radcliffe Yard.   The garden was named The Wallach Garden in honor of longtime Radcliffe supporters Susan ’68, JD ’71 and Ken ’68, JD ’72 Wallach, whose generosity made the competition possible.  

The Wallach Garden is located in Radcliffe Yard, bordering Brattle Street, between Buckingham House and Putnam House. It is bounded an all sides by vegetation and can be seen from the street and from the yard. The installation space is 72’ x 54’, paved with compacted stone dust and equipped with water, drainage, electricity, Internet access, and seating. 


The winning submission will be given a budget of $40,000 with which to build the installation. This budget must include procurement of all materials, labor costs, equipment rentals, installation, and removal, as well as restoration of any changes made to the garden (i.e., stone dust must be replaced if the installation requires digging in the space). The Radcliffe Institute will supervise the use of this budget throughout the process.


The winning student or team of students will be awarded a $10,000 honorarium. In the case of a winning team, the award will be split equally among all members.


Online registration to participate in the competition is required for each student or team of students and must be completed by December 11, 2015.

Only one registration per team is required; students submitting in teams should nominate a point person, who will be able to provide contact information for all teammates on the registration form.

Please register separately to participate in the Wintersession workshop taking place January 19–23, 2016. The deadline to register is December 11, 2015.


Submissions are due by January 29, 2016.

Delivered in hard copy to SUITE 200 in Fay House, 10 Garden Street, Cambridge

  • one 24” x 36” vertical board, to include
    • two perspectives or cross-sections of the design plan, and 
    • signed consent forms from all team members


Delivered electronically to

  • written description of the design vision (500 words or less)
  • high-resolution PDF of the design board
  • budget worksheet, and 
  • detailed plan for taking the project from vision to reality

The jury will look favorably on submissions that feature realistic, specific plans for construction within the given budget and schedule.


Public Art Competition Cycle 2 Winner: Latent (e)Scapes

Photo by Kevin Grady, Radcliffe Staff PhotographerPhoto by Kevin Grady, Radcliffe Staff Photographer

Christina Geros MAUD, MLA '15 created the winning design, Latent (e)Scapes, for the Radcliffe Institute Public Art Competition, Cycle 2. The installation, currently on view in the Wallach Garden in Radcliffe Yard, was unveiled on May 29, 2015.

"Sensitive Art: Radcliffe Installation Brilliantly Alert to Surroundings" (Harvard Gazette)

Public Art Competition Cycle 1 Winner: Saturate the Moment

Photo by Tony RinaldoPhoto by Tony Rinaldo

Keojin Jin MDesS '14 and Juhun Lee MDesS '14 created Saturate the Moment, the winning design of the inaugural competition. The winning installation was unveiled on October 28, 2013.

"Radcliffe Looks Ahead: Dedication of New Garden Project Precedes Campaign Launch" (Harvard Gazette)