Arup supports development of Chrysalis amphitheater in Maryland

29 June 2017 2 min. read
More news on

The Chrysalis amphitheatre was opened on the 22nd of April in Columbia, Maryland. Consulting group Arup was hired by the Trust overseeing the wider development in the region to provide a range of engineering consultancy services to the £6.6 million project, from design to testing.

The Chrysalis amphitheatre, situated in Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods in Columbia, Maryland, recently celebrated its opening to the public. The structure has a unique shape, beaten out of 1,000 feet of curved structural pipes - designed by New York architect Marc Fornes. The 5,000-square foot aluminium-shingled shell, which gives vistas into the forest beyond, covers a stage that has a capacity to host events for 100 to 10,000 people.

Arup supports development of Chrysalis amphitheatre

The $6.6 million structure is part of the wider $30 million, seven-phase park project being rolled out by Inner Arbor Trust, non-profit formed by the Columbia Association in 2013 to design, develop and manage the project.

"We've created an icon that people identify with and own," Michael McCall, president and CEO of the Inner Arbor Trust said. He concluded, "The Chrysalis has become the symbol of Columbia's next 50 years."

Aside from the architects, the Trust hired a number of external parties to the projects, including design-builder A. Zahner Company, steel fabricator and installer Walters Group, and general contractor Whiting-Turner Construction Company. The Trust also sought engineering and consultancy support from Arup.

Arup was tasked with, among others, structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering services for the pavilion, as well as theatrical and lighting design for the stage area. In addition, the firm leveraged its expertise to maximise the line of sight for the audience to the sitting positions.

In a statement following the opening of The Chrysalis, a spokesperson for the firm commented on the lengths to which Arup had gone to ensure the optimal theatre environment, including wind tunnel tests which provided critical information for the design of the structure’s galvanised steel frame. Acoustic studies meanwhile explored the impact of sound both within and beyond the building, and tunable LED lighting was designed to animate the structure, adding emphasis to the structure's "fluid, organic form."