The Chrysalis, a thin 40x40x40-foot structure covered in swaths of green, blue and white, will break ground this Saturday, Sept. 12, in Symphony Woods at Merriweather Park in Columbia, Md. The temporary structure is the first feature in a six-part series commissioned by Inner Arbor Trust, a Maryland–based organization that implements arts venues and events, to begin construction. The entire project was approved by the board of directors within the Columbia Association, a non-profit organization providing service programs and facilities, back in February

Designed by Marc Fornes, principal and founder of the New York-based firm THEVERYMANY, the sculptural awning functions as a covering for a small amphitheater. The finished project includes two stages to host large events, as well as many balconies for everyday use. According to the firm's site, the slated completion date is supposed to be sometime next year. 

Fornes specializes in prototypical architecture through the use of computational methods. Known for self-supported structures with organic designs, the Chrysalis is no exception. The final structure will be open on all sides, with no permanent fixtures other than the structure itself. The lightweight design helps the amphitheater achieve an organic look with minimal disruption to the forested surroundings. The Chrysalis earned Fornes a spot on the WAN Award’s 21 for 21 winners list in 2014.


Three additional structures will be designed by Martha Schwartz, founder of the London-based firm Martha Schwartz Partners. These include the Caterpillar, a 12-foot-high green wall that doubles as a fence; the Maze, described as a play area for both children and adults; and the Picnic Table, a 300-foot-long raised platform designed to be a sitting area and gathering place.

Mimi Hoang, AIA, and Eric Bunge, AIA, principals and founders of the New York-based firm nARCHITECTS, are currently designing the Butterfly Building, an arts and visitors center. The building features an entire wall of outdoor decks that cascade down, with trees coming up through them.

Finally, Mahan Rykiel, a Baltimore-based firm, has been commissioned to design the Lily Pads and Landscaping portion, which includes a raised wooden boardwalk pathway that cuts through landscape features. The firm’s work will help to ensure that this portion of the park remains a vibrant natural system.

The event will take place Sept. 12 at 10 am.