The Chrysalis Amphitheater broke ground last month. Located in the Symphony Woods of Merriweather Park in Maryland, and designed by architect Marc Fornes of The Very Many, the bandshell will be manufactured using Zahner’s ZEPPS Technology for building dual-curved structural forms. Zahner is involved in the engineering, fabrication, and installation of the Chrysalis Amphitheater’s structure as well as its surface.
The bandshell’s purpose is to provide a central space in Merriwether Park for both casual as well as civic gatherings. It will function as both a performance stage as well as an open air civic space with the capacity to host large events.
The bandshell design stands out as an icon, but it also harmonizes with its habitat. The canopy’s low-lying form gives it an abstract resemblance to the extinct North American megafauna which once roamed the region, and its composition of seemingly identical parts place it in the territory of an architectural superorganism, a form which is made up of similar, smaller forms.
“The Chrysalis is the elegant engineering of concrete, steel & aluminum; and, like the nature of its namesake, it is a beautiful and functional transformative structure that is systemically irregular and seemingly delicate.” — Michael McCall, President & CEO, Inner Arbor Trust
The Chrysalis’ reinforced concrete floor slab foundation acts as a diaphragm for the Bandshell, and making the whole foundation function for its acoustic purpose. Zahner design-engineered the form of the Chrysalis superstructure to use 10 and 8-inch tubular rolled steel to provide the basis for the structure’s form. This structure is part of what Zahner will provide with its ZEPPS® Technology. The other aspect of ZEPPS will be the curved aluminum sections, which provide the substructure to the aluminum shingled skin.
As the first of the seven-phase development plan by the Inner Arbor Trust, the shell-shaped outdoor amphitheater will sit east of the Merriweather Post Pavilion, alongside several other planned attractions across the 16.5 acre park space.
“You can just go here, eat lunch, sit down and relax or have a picnic with your family,” McCall said. “People have come to us and asked, ‘Hey, can we get married there once it’s built,’ and I’m sure that will happen. I said to myself that if we play this right, the park will be a field trip for three different trips to the park during someone’s school experience, too.”
The project is expected to be completed by Summer 2016.