Garden of Philanthropy

In expanding the Columbus Foundation, a philanthropic institution located in the original Ohio Governor’s Mansion, NBBJ designed a landscape that preserved the heart of the site’s historic gardens.

Beautifully landscaped gardens have been associated with the Columbus Foundation property for many years, since the office for this philanthropic institution were located at the site of the original State of Ohio Governor’s Mansion. When the Foundation determined they required more office space to accommodate their expanding presence, the design team crafted a solution which preserved the existing gardens, saving an enormous Sycamore tree along with a historic wisteria-covered pergola and other key features. The new architecture creates a framework through the use of enclosed walkways, the preservation of an existing carriage house and the addition of new offices and a convening hall. These structures, with their glass facades, provide views and accessibility to the Central Garden and allow people to enjoy the garden whether they are taking a lunch break or enjoying an evening event that spills into the garden from the Convening Hall.

In addition to the large Central Garden, a number of other garden spaces were created with the design and placement of the new building structures. An Arrival Garden, a Viewing Garden and a Sculpture Garden each add character to the Foundation experience. Even the parking lots are heavily planted to shade the paving and provide visual structure to the site. Existing donor sculptures were carefully relocated in the new garden spaces and the plantings within the gardens provide a variety of experiences through the use of seasonal flower plants framed with ornamental grasses, hedges and tree colonnades.

The project achieved LEED Silver, in large part due to the design of the site which successfully mitigated heat island effect through strategic shading, the preservation of many existing trees and the utilization of an efficient storm water system that incorporated bioswales allowing on-site storm water infiltration.


Ohio Chapter ASLA, Honor Award
Ohio Chapter ASLA, Special Recognition Award