Marc Fornes completes vivid Merriweather Park pavilion for spontaneous performance

Architect Marc Fornes has created a platform for people to express themselves creatively and spontaneously, with a vibrant green pavilion in a Maryland park.

Located in Merriweather Park, Columbia, The Chrysalis is formed of a collection of cascading meshed aluminium arches that vary in size and function.

The largest arch frames 'Stage Alpha', dimensioned, equipped and structured for official events, including the performances of musicians.

Adjacent is 'Stage Beta', a venue for smaller and more community-based events. An engineered terrain ascending to the stage provides an architectural topography on which park visitors can sit, stand and play.

“We want to provide not just a destination, but an experience for the morning jogger, the Sunday walker, the afternoon stroller, as well as anyone who is actually there for a show,” said Fornes. “It’s an amphitheatre, yet it’s first a pavilion in the park, an architectural structure, a tree house and a public artwork, ready to be engaged and activated at any given moment.”

Further arches wrapping around the back of the structure provide spaces for a truck loading dock, a grand staircase entrance, and balconies with views of the park beyond.

The architect has previously said the work explores the relationship between public space, technology and the environment. The Chrysalis’ arches were designed using patterns and structural analysis created by computer programmes. Layered within the pleated shell, an exoskeleton of steel tubing supports the heavy loads for performances inside, such as lights and other rigging.

Around 7,700 aluminium shingles have been used, each painted one of four shades of green taken from nature “and pushed to the point of artificiality.”

Fornes and his team collaborated with Arup, who worked on the engineering and lighting; architect of record Living Design Lab; fabrication firm Zahner; cilvil engineer Gutschick, Little & Weber; and landscape architect Mahan Rykiel Associates.

Merriweather Park boasts a rich musical heritage, having hosted acts from Led Zeppelin to Janis Joplin. The original venue within the park is the Merriweather Post Pavilion, an early work from Frank Gehry.

Marc Fornes, and his studio TheVeryMany, are known for their amorphous creations. Recent other projects include Under Magnitude; a large sculpture in Flordia inspired by clouds, coral and other sea-life and formed of over 4,600 ultra-thin pieces of perforated aluminium.

Marc Fornes  TheVeryMany  Chrysalis  Merryweather Park  design 
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Gaudi-inspired 'Chrysalis' takes centre stage in metamorphosis of Maryland park

Architect Marc Fornes has created a platform for people to express themselves creatively and spontaneously, with a vibrant green pavilion in a Maryland park. Located in Merriweather Park, Columbia, The Chrysalis is formed of a collection of cascading meshed aluminium arches that vary in size and function. The largest arch frames 'Stage Alpha', dimensioned, equipped and structured for official events, including the performances of musicians. Adjacent is 'Stage Beta', a
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Located in Merriweather Park, Columbia, The Chrysalis is formed of a collection of cascading meshed aluminium arches that vary in size and function / TheVeryMany
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