Gemma Observatory

Gemma Observatory by Anmahian Winton Architects




Gemma Observatory
Photo © Anmahian Winton Architects + Client

This private astronomical observatory is located on a remote mountain summit in central New Hampshire. The site is characterized by granite outcroppings and is situated at the center of a three-mile radius “dark” landscape with very little light pollution to obstruct astronomical viewing.

Gemma Observatory
Photo © Anmahian Winton Architects + Client

Gemma’s design rejects a traditional dome in favor of a synthesized architectural form that maximizes usable space and responds to the stark geographic context.

Gemma Observatory
Photo © Anmahian Winton Architects + Client

Its continuously faceted shape reflects the surrounding landform, and terraced concrete platforms transition between the summit’s bedrock and the building foundation, knitting together natural and man-made landscapes.

Gemma Observatory
Photo © Anmahian Winton Architects + Client

An unconventional pattern of lock-seamed zinc cladding mediates between the irregular site topography and the building’s geometry, reflecting Gemma’s orientation to both geological and celestial landmarks.

Gemma Observatory
Photo © Anmahian Winton Architects + Client

Its dimension, color, and patina evoke a material relationship to the gray granite outcroppings, while its heat transfer capability facilitates sky observation by minimizing temperature differential distortion.

Gemma Observatory
Photo © Anmahian Winton Architects + Client

As a counterpoint to the exterior and its context, the interior is lined with fir plywood, creating a haven of refuge and warmth from the harsh surroundings.

Gemma Observatory
Photo © Anmahian Winton Architects + Client

The first floor is comprised of a research office, sleeping bunk, and warming room, and is super-insulated to prevent interior/exterior temperature differentials from creating heat eddies that would impede astronomical viewing.

Gemma Observatory
Photo © Anmahian Winton Architects + Client

A helical stair leads from the cantilevered entry canopy to a fissure in the cladding that opens onto the exterior observation deck. Continuing, the stair arrives at the observatory’s primary viewing platform inside the faceted turret, its interior characterized by high ceilings, a larger telescope, and a camera array.

Gemma Observatory
Photo © Anmahian Winton Architects + Client

A single person can rotate this turret by hand with an assembly typically used in high-precision manufacturing facilities, and a hand-cranked sliding hatch opens the telescope to the sky. A rift in the zinc cladding creates a corner window, framing Polaris when the turret is locked into the southern cardinal position. Source by Anmahian Winton Architects.

Gemma Observatory
Photo © Anmahian Winton Architects + Client
  • Location: New Hampshire, USA
  • Architect: Anmahian Winton Architects
  • Project Manager: Mazen Sakr
  • Project Team: Anika Gramsey & Travis Williams
  • General Contractor: Patriot Painters & Builders
  • Structural Engineer: RSE Associates, Inc
  • Technical Motion Engineer: Gillespie Corp.
  • Rotating Rail Mechanism: THK
  • Metal Installer: Crocker Architectural Inc.
  • Steel: Quinn Brothers Iron Works
  • Structural Insulated Panels: Foard Panels Inc.
  • Decorative Steel: Tresfort Metal Works
  • Solar Panel Design: SunBug Solar
  • Size: 2,130 SF
  • Completed: 2015
  • Photographs: Anmahian Winton Architects + Client
Gemma Observatory
Site Plan
Gemma Observatory
Plans
Gemma Observatory
Section
Gemma Observatory
Pattern
Gemma Observatory
Axo Section

Article by
with permalink:
http://aasarchitecture.com/2017/07/gemma-observatory-anmahian-winton-architects.html

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *