Jury's Choice Award For Outstanding Achievement in Integrated Planning and Design - SCUP Excellence in Landscape Architecture for Open Space Planning

Wellesley College

1998 Wellesley College Master Plan and Implemented Projects
Wellesley College - 1998 Wellesley College Master Plan and Implemented Projects
Jury Comments
“. . . holistic strategy . . . beautifully implemented improvements . . . excellent example of environmental stewardship . . . exemplifies how careful planning, rooted in the history and essence of a place, is a powerful tool to align and direct initiatives toward a shared vision of the future . . .”


    • Site – 500 acres
    • Over 24 individual yet interconnected projects—
      designed to work together to ensure integrative outcomes—have been completed.
    • The master plan recognized Wellesley’s varied ensemble of landscapes and the role each of its types played in structuring space, experience, and pedagogy.
    • The campus is within the Charles River Watershed.


Wellesley’s relationship with its unique landscape has been at the core of its identity since its inception. In 1921, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. developed a master plan organized around the campus’s existing glacier-formed topography. From the 1940s on, new buildings and vehicular infrastructure overtook the landscape. The 1998 Master Plan grew out of alumnae’s desire to reclaim Wellesley’s landscape heritage for future generations. Over two decades, implemented master plan projects have reversed the damaged landscape with a successional ecology-based approach to design and management.

Project Team

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates; Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects (MSME); Elizabeth Meyer; Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design, Inc.; H Plus Incorporated