The color of the Chrysalis was never in doubt.

Designed by Marc Fornes of THEVERYMANY, the recently opened performing arts amphitheater in Columbia, Md., was destined to be green.

But what tint or shade of green?

Should the $6.6 million, 6,000-square-foot parametric marvel be hunter green? Mint green? Reseda green? Olive green? Or any one of thousands of other shades of green?

“I knew my reputation was going to live or die by the coloration decision,” recalls Michael McCall, Chrysalis project producer and then-president of the project’s owner, the nonprofit Inner Arbor Trust.Winning Selection

Color selection is seldom an easy choice for any architectural project. Think of the lively color discussions often associated with any high-profile work. When the project aims for iconic status, decision-making intensifies. When the goal is nothing less than enduring transcendence, color rises to “turn an interesting construction geometry into something alive and natural,” McCall says.

L. William Zahner III, president and CEO of Zahner, a leading architectural metal and glass company responsible for the Chrysalis’ construction from the foundation up, suggested a vibrant yellow-green shade. Coincidently, the color Greenery (Pantone 15-0343) gained worldwide fame as the 2017 Pantone Color of the Year several months later.

Accuracy First

Color selection is one thing. Matching that selection with coatings that precisely represent it is another. In a bake-off between two leading coating manufacturers, one quickly stole the show for “dead on” color accuracy, McCall says.

“We wanted the end result to be that the Chrysalis just fits and belongs where it is. It’s my belief people do not react to the Chrysalis as a structure at all. They see it as a conceptual space between nature and building,” McCall explains.

Blown Away

McCall credits coloration as delivering the winning construction hand. He says Zahner recommended Valspar based on his experience with the Minnesota company on the Morphosis-designed Bloomberg Center on Roosevelt Island, in New York City.

“We were blown away by Valspar,” McCall says. “They probably have scientists that can explain why there is a certain glow about their coatings that isn’t too shiny or flat. It’s just right.”

Fussy Approach

William Zahner appreciates a quality coating for other reasons. “You really can’t post-paint aluminum shingles,” he says. “We don’t always work with painted materials. When we get into paint, we’re very, very picky.” The Chrysalis is covered by 8,200 aluminum shingles in 44 unique profiles.

The team opted for Valspar Fluropon Solar Reflective (SR) exterior architectural coating in four slightly varying shades of green. Fluropon SR is formulated with reflective pigments that mitigate ultraviolet light. The coatings also resist weathering, chalking, facing, dirt, stain, and chemical degradation.

New Beginnings

The Chrysalis has been open less than a year, but the growing public buzz aligns remarkably well with the rationale used to describe Greenery as the 2017 Pantone Color of the Year winner: “A refreshing and revitalizing shade, Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings.” For McCall and the Chrysalis project team, this color will deliver new beginnings to the citizens of central Maryland for many decades to come.

For more color inspiration from Valspar, click here.