On Monday, community members had the chance to hear from the designers and architects hired by the Inner Arbor Trust to create an "arts and cultural park" in Symphony Woods.
There were many things presented at that meeting, so we figured we'd make a little guide to explain the features.
First, this is a much different plan than what Columbia Association's Board of Directors approved in February. The canopy walkway has been pushed into the future along with the arts village—a cluster of buildings that may contain CA headquarters.
Instead, the plan focuses on the 16.5 acres of woods between Merriweather Post Pavilion and Little Patuxent Parkway. Inner Arbor Trust president Michael McCall estimated this first phase of the project to cost about $30 million. McCall did not provide a specific timeline on the project, except that the whole park could take a decade or two to develop.
The first phase includes six major design features linked together with wood paths and landscaping:
- This is the amphitheater, which doubles as a sculpture.
- It's a 40x40x40 foot structure composed of thin metal that features green, white and blue striping with a wood floor.
- It's designed by Marc Fornes of TheVeryMany, a Brooklyn-based architect that specializes in designs using complex algorithms.
- Fornes described the design as "much more than a performance space" and something that can be "a destination for Sunday walkers".
- The county has provided $3.5 million for the amphitheater project, which Inner Arbor Trust president Michael McCall said the group is working hard to keep within that budget.
- It should be the first feature built in the project, and construction could begin next year, according to McCall.
- A tubular, 12-foot high green wall that doubles as a fence between Symphony Woods and Merriweather Post Pavilion.
- Designed by Martha Schwartz of the London-based Martha Schwartz Partners.
- Composed of a "living" exterior of native plants and flowers. Interior is hollow and it's supported by a metal frame.
- The plan is to include audio jacks that can play music, make it interactive with cell phones and install lights to show it off at night.
- "The idea is that it helps to blend and integrate [Merriweather and Symphony Woods]," said Schwartz. "So it does in fact become one park."
- Described by Martha Schwartz, the designer, as a "children and grown-up play area"
- Flooring is rubber, the roof is reflective, the walls are transparent, and the plan is for it to contain items like slides, stages and stairs.
- The doors on the inside of the maze would reflect the designs of doors in Columbia.
The Picnic Table
- Not really a picnic table at all, more of a 300-foot long raised platform.
- The plan calls for a steel frame platform that sits about two feet off the ground, and is covered with modern, permeable, grass-like turf.
- Designed by Martha Schwartz
- Holes will be made for trees in the path of the table.
- Described as a sitting area and gathering place.
- They're contemplating adding heating features, so if it snows, it could melt the snow off the top and provide a dry place for people to gather in the park.
The Butterfly Building
- This will be an arts/ visitor's center/ concessions building that features a large rooftop deck with views of Merriweahter and Symphony Woods.
- It's being designed by Mimi Hoang and and Eric Bunge of nArchitects.
- Features include a roof deck bar, two restaurants, an art gallery, and a 2,100 square-foot flex space.
- Preliminary materials include glass sides and reflective end walls.
- One side would feature outdoor decks that cascade down, with trees coming up through them. There's an estimated 3,000 square-feet of wood deck space.
The Lily Pads and Landscaping
- This is an area in the northeast corner of the park that features a raised wooden boardwalk pathway guiding walkers through landscape features.
- Designed by Mahan Rykiel, a Baltimore-based landscape architectural firm.
- Plan is to return the mowed grass in the northeast area to nature by loosening up the compacted soil and adding native and flowering plants.
- In addition, general landscaping would include the addition of 156 new trees.
- Scott Rykiel, of Mahan Rykiel, said so far the designers know they'll have to cut down 15 current trees in the park.
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