Anmahian Winton's zinc-clad observatory enables stargazing from a New Hampshire mountain

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Gemma Observatory by Anmahian Winton Architects

Anmahian Winton's zinc-clad observatory enables stargazing from a New Hampshire mountain

The top of this faceted private observatory in central New Hampshire, by Anmahian Winton Architects, rotates to provide different views of the night sky.

Gemma Observatory by Anmahian Winton Architects

The Gemma Observatory sits on a remote peak in the northeastern state, at the centre of a "dark" zone with a three-mile radius. Unobstructed by light pollution, the setting is ideal for astronomical observation.

Gemma Observatory by Anmahian Winton Architects

Unlike typically domed observatories, the building has an angular form designed to echo its jagged granite surroundings. Lock-seamed zinc used to clad its exterior references the hues of the rocky landscape.

"[The building's] dimension, colour, and patina evoke a material relationship to the grey granite outcroppings," said Anmahian Winton Architects, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Gemma Observatory by Anmahian Winton Architects

The small structure comprises a low portion and an adjoining tower, all wrapped by the faceted metal skin. A terrace of concrete platforms leading to the entrance forms part of the foundations, and also visually mediates the bedrock and the building.

Gemma Observatory by Anmahian Winton Architects

In contrast, the interior is lined with fir plywood to create a cosy escape from the chilly environment outside. The walls are thoroughly insulated to prevent heat exchange between outside and in, which produces heat eddies in the air that can impede the view of the stars.

Gemma Observatory by Anmahian Winton Architects

Designed to accommodate a single occupant, the ground floor has enough space for a research office, a sleeping bunk, and a warming room. A helical staircase leads up to a deck across the top of the single-storey portion, and continues up to the observation platform inside the turret equipped with a large telescope and a camera array.

Gemma Observatory by Anmahian Winton Architects

"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," the studio said.

Gemma Observatory by Anmahian Winton Architects

A gap in a corner of the cladding frames Polaris – the North Star – when the tower is locked into its southern cardinal position.

Gemma Observatory by Anmahian Winton Architects

Gemma Observatory was a winner of the AIA Small Projects Awards 2017, along with student-designed cabins in Colorado and a transitional housing facility for pregnant or parenting women in Oregon.

Gemma Observatory by Anmahian Winton Architects

A similarly compact observatory is located in Kielder, Scotland, but features two rotating towers rather than one.


Project credits:

Architect: Anmahian Winton Architects – Alex Anmahian, Nick Winton; project manager – Mazen Sakr; team – Anika Gramsey, Travis Williams
General contractor: Patriots Builders – Scott Estabrooks
Structural engineers: RSE Associates – Sofya Auren P.E.
Technical motion engineers: Gillespie
Rotating rail mechanism: THK
Metal installers: Crocker Architectural Sheet Metal
Steel: Quinn Brothers Iron Works
Structural insulated panels: Foard Panels
Decorative steel: Concentric Fabrication – Rob Lorenson; Tresfort Metal Works – Pierre Tresfort
Solar panel design: SunBug Solar

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Mon 31/07 add download pix to server: WWI plans joe / SF park (+output) A Tailor's House (email confirm) color camp (email confirmation) pending D&T: ATELIER KASTELIC BUFFEY (black n white cottage, canada); StudioAC toronto (from email) tags to make Lot-Ek New Hampshire To dos learn how to expense email Dan to my away dates Writing reminders - comprises “four layers of” “two stacked blacks” “a pair of balanced” - composed OF - he said, he explained Questions easy way to check for American spelling? PWs slack dezeen123 wordpress Bridget Cogley pretty123 trello dezeen123 v2com dezeen123 Example notes 1. to get more info : “Could you send a plan that we can use to help write the story? We won't publish it.  Architectural writers rely on plans to understand a project -- especially one that involves uniting different buildings. Moreover, there aren't many exterior photos of the house, making it extra hard to understand the composition.  Can you also send a project description!” 2. to respond to a chase : “Thanks! We'll pick this up. B” 3. to chase: “I am writing to you from Dezeen magazine. We're interested in featuring the two concrete buildings by Rachel Whiteread that you photographed in Joshua Tree. Are you able to send across a full set of images (3000 pixels wide on the shortest side)?”
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Mon 31/07 add download pix to server: WWI plans joe / SF park (+output) A Tailor's House (email confirm) color camp (email confirmation) pending D&T: ATELIER KASTELIC BUFFEY (black n white cottage, canada); StudioAC toronto (from email) tags to make Lot-Ek New Hampshire To dos learn how to expense email Dan to my away dates Writing reminders - comprises “four layers of” “two stacked blacks” “a pair of balanced” - composed OF - he said, he explained Questions easy way to check for American spelling? PWs slack dezeen123 wordpress Bridget Cogley pretty123 trello dezeen123 v2com dezeen123 Example notes 1. to get more info : “Could you send a plan that we can use to help write the story? We won't publish it.  Architectural writers rely on plans to understand a project -- especially one that involves uniting different buildings. Moreover, there aren't many exterior photos of the house, making it extra hard to understand the composition.  Can you also send a project description!” 2. to respond to a chase : “Thanks! We'll pick this up. B” 3. to chase: “I am writing to you from Dezeen magazine. We're interested in featuring the two concrete buildings by Rachel Whiteread that you photographed in Joshua Tree. Are you able to send across a full set of images (3000 pixels wide on the shortest side)?”
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Mon 31/07 add download pix to server: WWI plans joe / SF park (+output) A Tailor's House (email confirm) color camp (email confirmation) pending D&T: ATELIER KASTELIC BUFFEY (black n white cottage, canada); StudioAC toronto (from email) tags to make Lot-Ek New Hampshire To dos learn how to expense email Dan to my away dates Writing reminders - comprises “four layers of” “two stacked blacks” “a pair of balanced” - composed OF - he said, he explained Questions easy way to check for American spelling? PWs slack dezeen123 wordpress Bridget Cogley pretty123 trello dezeen123 v2com dezeen123 Example notes 1. to get more info : “Could you send a plan that we can use to help write the story? We won't publish it.  Architectural writers rely on plans to understand a project -- especially one that involves uniting different buildings. Moreover, there aren't many exterior photos of the house, making it extra hard to understand the composition.  Can you also send a project description!” 2. to respond to a chase : “Thanks! We'll pick this up. B” 3. to chase: “I am writing to you from Dezeen magazine. We're interested in featuring the two concrete buildings by Rachel Whiteread that you photographed in Joshua Tree. Are you able to send across a full set of images (3000 pixels wide on the shortest side)?”
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