Concept Designs Released for Symphony Woods Development

Design concepts include an airy amphitheater, a glass and mirror guest services building, and an earthworks "caterpillar".

The caterpillar design feature would separate Merriweather Post Pavilion from Symphony Woods. Credit: Provided by the Inner Arbor Trust.
The caterpillar design feature would separate Merriweather Post Pavilion from Symphony Woods. Credit: Provided by the Inner Arbor Trust.

The Inner Arbor Trust released several new designs planned for the development of Symphony Woods.

There's a large green, open amphitheater; an earthworks "caterpillar" that separates the back of Merriweather Post Pavilion from Symphony Woods; a play maze; a glass and mirror "butterfly" guest-services building; and an estimated 200-foot long raised AstroTurf "picnic table".

The initial designs are focused on the 16.5 acres in the front of the park that is located between Merriweather and Little Patuxent Parkway.

Here are some of the details from the Howard County Times report about the project:

  • The "picnic table" is about 200-feet long and sits about two feet off the ground, covered in AstroTurf it's designed to be a gathering place.
  • The amphitheater will likely be built first and help to start the development. It's called the "Chrysalis" and was designed to be a public pavilion as well as an event space.
  • The gust services building is planned to be 6,000 square feet, with two food vendors, an art gallery, a teared deck, and a rooftop deck. It's composed of glass and mirrors.
  • The "caterpillar" would serve as the boundary between Merriweather and Symphony Woods and would include live plants.
  • The arts village, a cluster of buildings that is planned to hold the future Columbia Association headquarters, is now being called the "Black Barn" and is being designed to include an arts venue, two theaters, a restaurant and an art gallery.
  • The project is estimated to cost approximately $30 million and may not be finished for over a decade.
The new plans differ from what McCall presented in January, where key features for the front of the park included a raised canopy walkway and a sculpture garden.

The only part of the project that's currently funded is the amphitheater, which the county provided $3.5 million for in the current budget.

McCall told the Howard County Times the Inner Arbor Trust has about $500,000 left from the $1.6 million provided by Columbia Association. He said about $700,000 has been spent during the design phase.

What do you think of the designs? Tell us in the comments.

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Christine December 03, 2013 at 08:54 AM
Wow. That's beautiful. I love the mirrored building concept.
Ryan December 03, 2013 at 11:31 AM
The trust has already spent $700k of our money on designs - are you kidding me? And since when does 1.6M-700k = 500k? Where did the other $400k go? Finally how much will we need to spend to maintain these amenities?
Anna December 05, 2013 at 11:27 AM
A traditional park/garden with a flower covered arbor tunnel might be as beautiful as some of these objects and a tad less costly.
Frank Hecker December 07, 2013 at 11:50 AM
For my thoughts on the Inner Arbor plan see my series of posts at frankhecker.com. For the record, despite some quibbles I think the proposed plan is great and would be well worth funding (by the county, private donations, and even the state), and worth waiting for the full plan to unfold. As a Howard County taxpayer I'm happy to endorse it.


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