Gemma Observatory / Anmahian Winton Architects

Gemma Observatory / Anmahian Winton Architects

Gemma Observatory / Anmahian Winton Architects - Image 2 of 17Gemma Observatory / Anmahian Winton Architects - WindowsGemma Observatory / Anmahian Winton Architects - HandrailGemma Observatory / Anmahian Winton Architects - Windows, FacadeGemma Observatory / Anmahian Winton Architects - More Images+ 12

  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  2130 ft²
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2015
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers:  Concentric Fabrication, Foard Panels, Quinn Brothers Iron, SunBug Solar, Tresfort Metal Works
General Contractor: Patriots
  • Builders: Scott Estabrooks
Structural Engineers: RSE, Associates, Inc. - Sofya Auren
  • P E 
Technical Motion Engineers: Gillespie Corp. 
  • Rail Mechanism: THK 
  • Installers: Crocker Architectural Sheet Metal Co., Inc. 

  • Country: United States
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Gemma Observatory / Anmahian Winton Architects - Image 2 of 17
Courtesy of Anmahian Winton Architects

Text description provided by the architects. 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’s design rejects a traditional dome in favor of a synthesized architectural form that maximizes usable space and responds to the stark geographic context. 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. 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. 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 / Anmahian Winton Architects - Handrail
Courtesy of Anmahian Winton Architects
Gemma Observatory / Anmahian Winton Architects - Facade, Deck
Courtesy of Anmahian Winton Architects

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. 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. 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. 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.

Gemma Observatory / Anmahian Winton Architects - Windows
Courtesy of Anmahian Winton Architects

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Project location

Address:New Hampshire, United States

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Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
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Cite: "Gemma Observatory / Anmahian Winton Architects" 22 Dec 2017. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

Courtesy of Anmahian Winton Architects

隐于山岩之中的几何体 Gemma 观星台 / Anmahian Winton Architects

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