Harvard University Graduate School of Design | Department of Landscape Architecture

The GSD-Courances Design Residency is fully funded through the Penny White Project Fund and the generous support of the Chateau de Courances. It will afford students the chance to spend six weeks living and working in the certified organic farm, gardens, and park at the Chateau de Courances, a 16th century domaine located in the Ile-de France region, 50 km south of Paris. The residency will expose students to new modes of thought, discourse, and engagement on such topics as sustainable land management, agriculture, conservation, stories of place, and the role of historic sites in contemporary society.

The structure of the residency is fundamentally hands-on. Students will work directly alongside farmers and landscaping crew, learning land management techniques and practices through direct experience. Students will also pursue an independent project or research topic depending on their own personal interests and explorations.

Two positions will be offered each year. The duration of the residency will be for six weeks, from approximately the beginning of June to the middle of July. The dates for 2020 will be approximately from June 2, 2020-July 12, 2020.


Please contact the Department of Landscape Architecture,, if you have any questions.



All students enrolled in the Harvard Graduate School of Design are eligible for support for project proposals that address the objectives of the Penny White Fund. Although all GSD students are eligible, according to the Fund terms, “it is expected that preference will be given to students in the Department of Landscape Architecture.” Please note that final year students are not eligible. Students not enrolled in the Master in Landscape Architecture, Master in Architecture, Master in Urban Design, Master in Urban Planning, or Master in Design programs must clearly indicate the relationship of the proposed project to their major research enterprise, including thesis or dissertation studies. Furthermore, these students must indicate other sources and amounts of funding related to such efforts, if they exist.

Students can apply to both Calls for Proposals if desired; however, the Committee recommends that such applicants note their preference when applying and ultimately move forward with one option over the other.

Should students wish to travel elsewhere in addition to their time at Courances, please note that due to student travel policies students should not plan travel to “High Risk” countries and regions. Please review the risk ratings on the Harvard Global Support Services page here:


Students must work individually. Team applicants are not allowed. Student may work in conjunction with or independently from their course work.


Proposals are evaluated on several criteria including: quality and clarity of the project, originality of the research, feasibility of the budget and schedule, relevance to the Fund’s objectives, nature of the outcome, and contribution to the field of landscape architecture. Applicants should carefully review proposals from the past 2 to 3 years to avoid duplication of projects previously supported by the Fund. The Jury will pay special attention to the focus and quality of the proposals, the relationship between proposed travel and project objectives, current course of graduate study, and their relevance to the field of landscape architecture. The Fund will welcome projects that focus and advance the political agency of landscape—namely through plants, waters, climates—as activist, collaborative, and participatory medium.

Late or incomplete proposals will not be considered. The Jury Committee will meet following the submission of proposals. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed as part of the application process. Those selected for the GSD-Courances Design Residency will be notified by March 2020. The project must be completed and a Final Report must be submitted to the Department of Landscape Architecture by September 14th, 2020.

It is strongly recommended that, in the preparation of their proposals, applicants check the guide “Scholarly Pursuits: A Guide to Professional Development during the Graduate Years,” by Cynthia Verba, Director of Fellowships at the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and which can be downloaded at the GSAS website. Chapter 5 of the guide, “Grantsmanship in Support of Study or Research: Writing a Fellowship Proposal or Statement of Purpose,” offers valuable recommendations on how to construct and polish arguments in the development of an application to a grant, on how to write an abstract, and on the general organization of your ideas. The guide can be found at


Only one grant may be awarded per student, as an individual. Collaboration with students that have already received an award from the Penny White Fund is not allowed. No additional funding will be provided after the Award date, should the project budget change for any reason whatsoever.


Final year students are not eligible. 


Student applicants will be requested to submit the name of one project advisor – an Internal Faculty Advisor from the GSD – who is aware of the project and supports its potential outcomes. Please note – the Internal Faculty Advisor should not be someone on the Faculty Jury Committee who reviews the proposals.


Competition for the Penny White Fund takes place in a one-stage process of selection.


Application deadline: January 5th, 2020, at 11:59PM EST

Applicants must submit a digital copy (pdf format) of their Proposal to:

File name must be in this format: Last Name_First Name PW2020

Executive Coordinator for the Department of Landscape Architecture,

Late or incomplete proposals will not be accepted.


The recipients of the 2020 GSD-Courances Design Residency will be announced by March 2020.


Awardees are required to prepare and submit a final report of their research, as an outcome of their Award. 25% of awarded funds will be held back and released upon submission of Final Report. Winners will receive further guidelines as to final report formats from the Department of Landscape Architecture and the Loeb Design Library. If you are interested in viewing the Final Reports of previous Penny White recipients, most of them are available in the Special Collections of the Loeb Library.

Final Report submission deadline: September 14th, 2020

The awardees must submit a hard copy and a digital copy of their Final Report to:

Executive Coordinator for the Department of Landscape Architecture,

Department of Landscape Architecture

48 Quincy Street, Room 312

Cambridge, MA 02138

Note that an additional hard copy of the Final Report should be submitted to Courances and will be kept there.

The Final Report should consist of the following contents compiled: 

Revised Project Summary: summary of the main objectives and scope of the investigation, the method and approach that has been followed, the learnings and outcomes (between 200 and 300 words). 

Revised Project Description: a more elaborated, clear and comprehensive description of the project, also looking at the main objectives and scope, method and approach, learnings and outcomes of the investigation (two to three pages). 

Revised Schedule and Itinerary: it should include maps of the itinerary followed, and the research conducted and tasks accomplished in each phase of the schedule and location in the itinerary. 

Project Images: between 10 and 30 annotated photographs, maps, diagrams. 

Project Photography: between 30 and 70 site photographs.

Learning Outcomes: What has been learned? What was initially expected and what was actually found? How did the project evolve during the preparation of the field work, during the trip, and afterwards? How has this opportunity impacted your understanding of design as a form of research? (two to three pages).

Conclusions: explain your conclusions, both partial and general, and whether, why, and how this project will be continued (two to three pages).


The maximum proposal length is 16 pages, 8.5”x11”, in portrait format. Applicants are strongly recommended to not exceed this length.

The GSD-Courances Design Residency is a partially-structured program that positions direct engagement in agriculture and landscape maintenance practices as a part of each student’s research methodology and means of discovery. Students should conceive of projects and research methods within the nature of the hands-on work laid out in the residency description, and include 2 weeks of farm work and 2 weeks of landscaping work in their project description, schedule, and method.

Part 1: The Farm
Students will spend two weeks working with Courances’ full-time farmers and seasonal staff across the 500 hectares of certified organic farmland, participating in a range of activities including planting and harvesting a diverse vegetable crop, market sales, and the experimental ‘Farming on Living Soils’ practice.

Part 2: The Park
Students will spend another two weeks in the historic park with the landscaping crew, gaining first-hand experience with the management practices and upkeep of the park, as well as an understanding of its water systems, planting strategies, and historic and contemporary design elements.

Part 3: Independent Project
After getting to know the different areas of Courances and the surrounding region, students will spend the last part of the residency pursuing an independent analysis/design research project through which they can explore their own personal interests in relation to the context of Courances.


One page containing project title, your name, program affiliation, expected graduation year, address (mail, email), date, total budget request.


One-page brief description (between 100 and 200 words) of the main objective and scope of the project, including proposed method, and expected outcome. The abstract should clearly identify if the project is a case study, site investigation, a prototypical experiment, or any other form of research.


3A. Project Description (half page): a clear and comprehensive description of the project, its objectives, main tasks and outcomes. The description includes conditions addressed, questions asked, or hypotheses tested. The description must also describe if a similar project of this type has been done before, how it is different, what is aims to accomplish, and what is the substantive contribution to the field of landscape.

3B. Project Background (half page): a succinct outline of the project’s specific spatial, ecological and geographic context. The project background should also outline the historic, theoretical, scientific, representational or practical discourse of the project, in relation to research and design in landscape architecture. Background information should be supported by relevant sources which might include reference literature, case studies, precedents, past projects. Clear and concise graphic illustration of the project background is encouraged.


One-page explanation that describes the method that will be used to accomplish the main project tasks. In this section, precedents, historic case studies, earlier work with methods similar to those suggested in the proposal may be cited, and will be used to clearly frame the discourse and the type of project in question. The project might be also identified in this section with specific modes of landscape architecture practice. The methods section should also describe why travel is essential for the coherent development of the research project.

A helpful book regarding research methods: Landscape Architectural Research: Inquiry, Strategy, Design by M. Elen Deming and Simon Swaffield.

There might be human subjects involved in the content of the research. In such cases, research needs to be guided by the ethical principles set forth in the Belmont Report, which seeks the Protection of Human Subjects of Research. For research projects that deal with human subjects, it is strongly recommended that awarded students send their proposal to the Harvard’s Committee on the Use of Human Subjects for revision. More information about this can be found at


Additional graphic material in the form of maps and diagrams that supports the project proposal, illustrating the area of research, the content of the research, visual methodologies and examples of the outcomes (up to a maximum of 5 pages). All project imaging should be high resolution, with captions and sources.


One-page detailed description of the project timetable, start and end dates, timeline for main tasks, and sequence of deliverables. Please note that reasonable time must be dedicated to advance the definition of the project itself, to the preparation of the logistics of the trip, and to the completion of the deliverables. Please consider including a map of the area in which the project is to be developed, particularly if there are specific itineraries within the area that would help the committee understand the nature of your trip.

Though the residency runs for six weeks, through mid-July, and Courances cannot offer housing after this time, students may feel free to include other plans as part of their proposal should they wish to continue their travel and research after the residency is completed


One-page detailed itemization of all anticipated expenses including “Travel” (air and ground travel), “Accommodations” (hotel), “Equipment and Resources” (supplies, fuel, power, documentation, reproduction, copy) and “Incidentals” (security, visa, guide, translation). Although expenses for food and normal per diem costs are not covered by the Fund, project budgeting must demonstrate a clear understanding of project expenses and regional incidentals. The budget should not underestimate costs that might adversely affect the outcomes of the project. Any additional funding sources from other grant agencies must be disclosed.

Note that students who go to Courances will receive up to $4,500. A portion of this will be used for rent and flights.


One-page description of tangible benefits, findings and contributions of the project to the discipline of landscape architecture and fields of design. The anticipated product must be feasible and impact feasible, providing new insights and new impacts on design, submissions to journal publications, contributions to collections, concurrent conferences, community engagements. Provide an itemized list of actual outcomes (a conference, a paper, a map, a presentation, an interview, an installation) with relevant dates, as applicable. Outcomes and deliverables must be tangible, substantive and feasible.


Applicant(s) must submit a max. 2-page CV outlining their education, experience and other relevant background to demonstrate capability and responsibility.


One-page list of references, books, websites from preliminary research that demonstrates knowledge of the project discourse, area, and scope.


One page with information of one advisor as a Project Endorser. This person should be an Internal Faculty Advisor from the GSD. List names, position, and contact information, including email address and mailing address. Advisors may be contacted during the Selection Process. Please note – the Internal Faculty Advisor should not be someone on the Faculty Jury Committee who reviews the proposals.


Sample proposals from previous winners are available for review at the Department of Landscape Architecture in Gund Hall, Room 312. The Committee encourages applicants to consult winning proposals of past calls for applications.

Application Deadline: January 5th, 2020 at 11:59pm EST