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The Meditation Garden & Master Plan at the Van Buren Center
MKSK Studios, out of Columbus Ohio, donated design services for the Meditation Garden.

By Andrew Soto, LASN


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MKSK Studios, out of Columbus Ohio, donated design services for the Meditation Garden and Master Plan at the Van Buren Center, the largest homeless shelter in the city of Columbus, Ohio. Installation took place as part of a weeklong community service event in which volunteers provided all labor. Representing a wide variety of height, texture and color, the grasses and perennials were selected based on their hardiness and ability to thrive with minimal maintenance.


The Community Shelter Board of Columbus, Ohio, owns and operates the Van Buren Center, the largest homeless shelter in the city. The center provides clean sleeping accommodations, healthcare and hot meals to less fortunate men, women and children in separate and safe facilities on site.

In 2014, the board called on the design services of MKSK Studios, a Columbus, Ohio, based collaborative design firm specializing in landscape architecture, urban design and planning. The firm designed a passive entrance garden, giving residents a place to reflect outdoors. The garden design included minimal hardscaping and lush vegetation to reflect "separate but open" zones conducive to both passive interaction and private relaxation. Strong linear lines, wide paths, and mass plantings were utilized to ensure a quick and easy installation. The garden's plant beds provide the most visual interest. All design services were provided pro bono.

After the initial work on the Center was complete, in an effort to maintain a chohesive continuation of the Center's landscape, the Community Shelter Board and MKSK partnered a second time to develop a comprehensive master plan for the entire Van Buren Center property. The Van Buren Center Comprehensive Master Plan identifies site improvement projects that will accommodate potential growth and program needs as they adapt over the next 10 years.



As seen in LASN magazine, September 2017, Stewardship.






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