“When Columbia’s new Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods is finished, it will be an attraction drawing 2.5 million visitors a year.
That’s the prediction of Joni Newkirk, CEO of Florida-based Integrated Insight Inc., who spoke before an audience of 200 last week, telling the gathering, “You’ve got a great project on your hands.”
Newkirk, whose firm specializes in attendance forecasting and capacity planning, took part in “Math of Architecture and Architecture of Math,” a lecture presented by the Inner Arbor Trust on Tuesday in Howard Community College’s Smith Theatre.
The presentation also included Bill Zahner, CEO and president of A. Zahner Co., the Missouri manufacturing and engineering-design firm creating and installing the facade of the outdoor amphitheater known as the Chrysalis, which makes up the first phase of the $30 million project and is being funded by a $6.4 million county grant.”
The Chrysalis, which was designed by New York architect and artist Marc Fornes, features an undulating sculptural form with a 60-ton, 4,000-shingle metal skin.
Designing such a one-of-a-kind project “is not simply mechanics,” Zahner said before the event.
“We interject a human element so the end result has a rhythm and cadence,” he said. “There will be only one like it, since we’d get bored if we did anything twice. We are aiming to make it novel and timeless.”
McCall said that even though renowned architect Frank Gehry, who designed the Merriweather Post Pavilion, also created “beautiful and crazy buildings with sweeping, curved surfaces,” the Chrysalis will be “a whole other thing, with curvilinear surfaces curving in two directions at the same time.”
He described Zahner’s approach to the project as falling “somewhere between art and architecture.”