Metropolitan Walters has been selected as a construction partner for Chrysalis, a stage and pavilion complex that is literally and figuratively at the center of an effort to renew and revitalize this Maryland community.
“While the Chrysalis is designed to blend into its setting in the Symphony Woods, the organic, wavy structure presents the some very interesting engineering and building challenges,” says Dave Pisacrita, the CEO of Metropolitan Walters. “These kind of challenges are right up our alley.”
Metropolitan Walters will work closely with A. Zahner Company, a fabrication and engineering company based in Kansas City. Walters and Zahner are both family-owned businesses that specialize in creative construction projects.
Walters will assist with both the structural design and the logistics of the project. Despite its relatively modest size, construction of the structure, which designers describe as “systematically irregular” will be far from simple. The finished Chrysalis will stand about 50 feet high, and have a footprint of about 5,000 square feet. Its intricate skeleton of steel tubing will be furnished, fabricated and erected by Walters, while Zahner will be responsible for an aluminum plating “skin.”
“The Chrysalis has no continuous lines of support,” says Pisacrita. “During construction, it will be very unstable. We’ll require temporary shoring towers that can only be removed once the structure is complete.”
Metropolitan Walters has worked on many projects over the years – including other partnerships with Zahner – that adapt steel’s structural strength into unusual aesthetic forms. But Pisacrita says he’s never seen anything quite like this before.
“We’ve built over active train lines, and erected 70-storey towers in the heart of Manhattan where the logistics can be really challenging,” he says. “Even for a tough project, creating a logistics plan can be quite manageable. Even though this is a relatively small project, it is going to take a very well thought out plan to make it happen.”
Located in Howard County, MD, Columbia began in the 1960s as a planned group of self-contained villages. Lead developer James Rouse designed the community based on “human values” and hoped that these neighborhoods would help break down race, class and religious barriers. Today, despite shifting demographics and economic changes, Columbia remains ranked as one of the best places to live in the United States.
In an effort to attract younger people to the area, Howard County drafted a plan in 2010, to reinvent Columbia as a cultural and artistic hub. The plan calls for Symphony Woods to be transformed into a “new kind of culture park where the landscape becomes a setting for arts, culture and civic uses.”