Man Made Moon
by Sam Jacob


Man Made Moon by Sam Jacob

Architect and writer Sam Jacob wants to transform St Paul's Cathedral in London into a live map of the phases of the moon.

Man Made Moon by Sam Jacob

With the use of a spotlight rigged up to a track around the base of the domed roof, Sam Jacob proposes that the the city's famous baraque cathedral could become a tool for charting the changing phases of the 29 day lunar cycle.

Man Made Moon by Sam Jacob

"The cathedral's dome and the moon would hover over London as though it were a city on a planet with two moons," said the architect. "St Paul's becomes a secular device linking our earthly concerns with the heavenly realm."

Man Made Moon by Sam Jacob

Jacob told Dezeen how the idea came to him while cycling across Blackfriars Bridge one day, when he saw a full moon and the illuminated dome alongside one another. "If the night was cloudy and no moon was visible then the dome could operate as a kind of lunar clock," he said.

Man Made Moon by Sam Jacob

Christopher Wren, the architect of St Paul's, was well-known for his love of astronomy and Jacob also thinks the project would create an interesting parallel between the architect's most famous building and a lunar globe that he built for British monarch Charles II in the seventeenth century, named a selenosphere. "Wren's building is transformed into a selenosphere," he added.

Sam Jacob is one of three directors at London studio FAT, who created an exhibition dedicated to architectural copying at this summer's Venice Architecture Biennale. Watch an interview we filmed with Jacob at the exhibition.

Other projects we've featured inspired by the form of the moon include an ice cream cake, a dish filled with holes and a lamp.

See more moon-like projects »

  • kdub

    But won’t you only be able to view this correctly from one particular location?

  • Colonel Pancake

    I discovered that if you look at the moon at night, it tells you what lunar season it is, making all other lunar clocks a wretched waste of time.

  • Charlie Bing

    Who knows what the good burghers of St Paul’s will think, but go for it! Grand idea, whimsical, thoughtful and magical. I can see it now crossing over from the Tate Modern. Thank you.

  • Kel

    But during the day you’ll just see a metal arm hanging off the side of the dome.

  • michael

    Nice idea, but at the moment the tip of the dome is poorly edited out of the pictures, which changes the entire appearance of this project. They have to think about how to deal with it.

  • Wonderful imaginative idea. If it can be executed properly it could be great.