West Garden at the Columbus Museum of Art

West Garden at the Columbus Museum of Art Columbus, Ohio

Services Provided

Garden Design
Construction Documentation 

People Involved

Karen McCoy


2014 Ohio Chapter ASLA Merit Award

Creative design solutions create a fully accessible and artful museum entry.

One challenge inherent in renovating a historic building is that they often lack accessibility features. Too often, when these accommodations are added in later eras, they are treated as an afterthought rather than an opportunity.

As part of the most recent campus renovation at the Columbus Museum of Art, MKSK was tasked with negotiating six feet of grade change between the building entry and the sidewalk, while also creating an iconic signature element visible from Broad Street.

MKSK responded with a garden design where the functional need for a path and fence was transformed into an iconic sculptural garden enclosure. The curved steel form of the fence is inspired by grass plumes waving in the breeze. The transition between street level and entrance was carefully designed to culminate in a monumental garden gateway.


A sloped curved path defines the north end of the garden, framing the oval lawn and providing access to the existing entrance. Limestone seat terraces flank the central bluestone walkway and stairs, establishing an informal amphitheater edge to the lawn panel. A playful flagstone path meanders through ornamental grasses at the south edge of the lawn offering opportunities for sculpture discovery for all.

The sensitive integration of accessibility into the overall garden design and the artful custom fence and gate have been embraced by the Museum administration, patrons, and the community.