An observatory is traditionally opaque and heavily grounded. We abandoned precedent, as the entire structure is a garden pavilion where the viewing room is elevated a full level above the ground. The reason most observatory rooms are one-story is due to the fact that the telescope itself cannot move even the slightest amount without blurring the image. Here, the 16- diameter Schmidt-Cassegrain is mounted atop a 24 – diameter concrete pylon, thereby meeting the required zero vibration.
The structure itself sits in the hayfields, reflected in the lily pond as a sculptural form. Furthermore, its textured slats and horizontal boards play abstractly with the light, shifting the readings throughout the day and the seasons. The viewing area itself (only a 14-foot square room) has one corner rounded, which is expressed in active shadow on the exterior. The slat spacing is based on the dimension of the stair risers, thereby giving human scale and creating visual interest. Interior surfaces of the room are sheathed in maple with an integrated desk and storage.