in maryland’s merriweather park, MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY has re-conceptualized the life of an amphitheater with the design of ‘chrysalis’. conceived as an experiential space, while satisfying the requirements of a theater typology, the structure is characterized by a series of cascading arches that not only vary in size, but also in function. the flexible and configurable nature of the project means that visitors can engage with the architecture of the site even when official events aren’t taking place. 


image courtesy of zahner

 

 

MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY has used the structure’s largest arch to frame ‘stage alpha’, which has been configured for official events and musical performances that might require equipment and lighting rigs. adjacent is ‘stage beta’ — a smaller venue for more intimate and community-based events for smaller crowds. simultaneously, an engineered terrain ascending to ‘stage beta’ provides an architectural topography that visitors can sit, stand and play on. wrapping around the back of the structure, arches become sites for a truck loading dock, a grand staircase entrance, and balconies with views beyond. by night, ‘chrysalis’ becomes a glowing concert venue with the capacity and flexibility to support the most significant of musical performances.


image courtesy of zahner

 

 

‘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,‘ architect DPLG marc fornes says of the project. ‘it is an amphitheater, yet it is 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.’


image courtesy of THEVERYMANY

 

 

‘chrysalis’ has been generated through a process that sees a digital mesh drawn flat and all of its segments transformed into a series of differentiated spring systems — then inflated. layered within the pleated shell is an exoskeleteon of steel tubing to support the heavy loads for performances inside. between its aluminum shingles and steel exoskeleton, the project utilized zepps — a patented interface developed by zahner. each shingle is painted one of four shades of green that take cues from nature. together, the tones create a subtle gradient that renders ‘chrysalis’ a landmark, while also camouflaging it into its natural landscape.


image courtesy of THEVERYMANY


image courtesy of THEVERYMANY


image courtesy of THEVERYMANY


image courtesy of THEVERYMANY


image courtesy of THEVERYMANY


image courtesy of THEVERYMANY


image courtesy of THEVERYMANY


image courtesy of zahner


image courtesy of zahner


image courtesy of THEVERYMANY


image courtesy of zahner

 

 

project info: 

 

material: aluminum shingles, zepps profiled panel systems, galvanized steel substructure
dimensions: 64’h x 120’w x 82’d
surface area: 12,000 sq ft
7,700 shingles; 45,000 rivets
designed by: MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY
commissioned by: inner arbor trust
engineer / theatrical / lighting: ARUP
architect of records: living design lab
specialty fabrication: zahner
landscape architect: mahan rykiel associates
civil engineer: gutschick, little & weber, P.A.

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