One of architect Frank Gehry’s earliest public buildings collapsed this month as it was nearing the end of a five-year, $55 million renovation, forcing the owners to revise their plans.
The roof of the Merriweather Post Pavilion, a 19,000-seat open-air concert venue in Columbia, Maryland, crashed down in the middle of the night on Saturday, January 13, burying the seating below. No one was injured.
The concert pavilion was designed by Frank Gehry, Walsh, and O’Malley in 1967 and is being renovated to maintain presence among other performing arts centers. The design team opted to keep the original roof seeing it as the defining element of Gehry’s design and were in the process of raising it 20 feet on hydraulic lifts improving sightlines when it collapsed.
So far a cause for the collapse has not been disclosed. This incident marks the concert pavilion as one of the first major Frank Gehry buildings to be considerably lost or modified despite efforts to retain its architectural integrity.
Gehry Partners is not a part of the renovation design team headed up by JP2 Architects, but was briefed on the project. A new roof will be built in time for this summer’s concert season with the first show scheduled for July.