Today Harvard's campus reaches far and wide, crossing the Charles River and reaching deep into Allston, but Harvard Yard remains the nucleus of the University. Harvard College started here, undergraduates live here during their first year, it is home to Memorial Chapel and the largest library on campus, and it is the site of major ceremonies including graduation.
Though the Yard is often considered a prototypical expression of New England Georgian architecture, this guide reveals a much broader mix. A number of fine victorian, classical, and even modern buildings blend into the traditional red brick panorama within the gates, while several important modern and contemporary landmarks sit just outside. Works by Bullfinch, Richardson, Van Brunt, McKim, Shepley Bullfinch, Sert, Le Corbusier, Piano, and Leers Weinzapfel are included, as are the Harvard Graduate School of Design and its predecessor building.
The tour passes the Harvard Art Museum and the Collection of Scientific Instruments, which is housed on the first floor of the Science Center. Both are open to the public. Harvard's Museum of Natural History is a short walk to the north of the Science Center, and is worth an excursion if time allows.
Enter the campus through Johnson Gate, and proceed to the left and roughly clockwise around the perimeter to the Carpenter Center, then return through the Yard.