Merriweather Post Pavilion recently hosted CREWBaltimore members and guests for a construction tour of the newly renovated historic concert venue. Initially built in 1967 to be home to the National Symphony, Merriweather is celebrating over 50 years as a historic location for some of music’s biggest artists.
With its rich history, there was a lot at stake with the new renovations, including risk to losing Merriweather’s original character. Designers at JP2 Architects were innovative with the renovation while keeping the same character Merriweather has created for itself.
Many factors were taken into consideration when redesigning the space. Being located in the heart of Symphony Woods Park, the venue was already one unlike any other. However, that wasn’t enough.
Merriweather’s biggest goal is creating accessibility for all concert goers. With that, they are going to great lengths to create a venue that is completely ADA accessible. A new crosswalk will be installed that will connect all parts of the venue for the handicapped and disabled. They are also creating an elevator that will allow people to be dropped off at the midway point of the site, something that is extremely unique for an outdoor concert space.
Another goal relates to the performance space and backstage space for artists and their entourages. Designers hoped to keep the performance space similar to the original design, being that it was so unique. After several refurbishments, they were unable to salvage the original wood floors on the notoriously low performing stage; however, they were able to give it a bit of a facelift. The stage is set lower than most stages and is constructed of wood, with a turntable in the middle. This allows stage crews to set up two artists at once for events such as festivals.
Backstage, renovations to the dressing rooms and VIP space are finished. There were numerous things that needed to be changed specifically for artists and their entourages. For example, countless artists have been required to rely on tents to act as different amenities, such as the kitchen. The overall new feel of the backstage is pretty modern – everything from the floors, the light fixtures and furniture bring a modern vibe to the venue. Merriweather is also the only concert venue that has a pool for its artists. The backstage also boasts extremely large dressing rooms and VIP spaces fit to cater to the largest of entourages, whether they chose to be indoors or outdoors.
The office space is the most recent project for the renovation team. Doubling as an office space and an adult playground, you’ll find everything from desks and computers, to ski ball, basketball, and Pac-Man. A modern feel is brought to the offices as well, with each office door decorated with the historic artists and bands that have performed there.
Merriweather Post Pavilion is becoming an entertainment mecca in every sense of the word and the 2018 outdoor concert season is expected to be one of the most exciting yet! This was an amazing renovation project executed by JP2 Architects, Howard Hughes Corporation, I.M.P., and the Downtown Columbia Arts and Culture Commission, which will ensure the venue will be relevant for decades to come.