memorial garden
north christian church
Columbus, Inidiana

North Christian Church, a National Historic Landmark designed by Eero Saarinen, is surrounded by a landscaped "moat." Several years ago, the church began to develop part of the moat as a memorial garden, with memorial plaques and the placing of cremated remains. The area was meant for meditation and reflection, but access to the area, was difficult, especially for the elderly. The original steps were deteriorated, the gravel was hard to walk on, and there was no place to sit once there.

The intent of this project was to make the garden area more welcoming and conducive to its original purpose. In order to do so, we replaced the steps, added handrails, paving, and designed a custom bench. All elements are intended harmonize with the character and design of the existing, architecturally significant building by either matching the existing, or using characteristics and materials drawn from the surroundings.

The bench has a concrete base that sits on the existing curb and is pushed back into the vine-covered bank. The actual seating surface is wood, supported on a stainless steel frame and was carefully designed for comfort and durability. Eventually the bench will be absorbed by the hillside: the vines partially envelop the concrete portion of the bench and the wood will weather to a soft gray.