New Observatory Park
While the focus of the Observatory Park is skyward, the park is anchored by two buildings that were designed to house a large telescope and to support educational programs. The buildings are situated on a circular plaza along a planetary trail and include curved exterior walls to fit within this thematic park design.
The roof line of both buildings is a stepped design, highlighting the site’s north-south axis, while angling up to the focal sky. The angled roofs also allow visitors to view the exposed vegetated roof and solar panels. The buildings are clad in cedar siding and natural stone, blending in with a tranquil setting. The smaller building houses the Oberle Observatory Station and has a partially retractable roof for the 25-inch telescope. The larger building houses waterless restrooms and a 200-person meeting room. Images from the telescope can be projected into the meeting room which also includes a 9-foot fiberglass domed planetarium.
This building pushed the envelope in its implementation of sustainable features, especially considering the small scale of the buildings. It was a lot of fun to bring the vision of this park to a reality.
Melinda Scalfaro, Project Architect, SōL Harris/Day Architecture
Observatory park is only the third in the nation to be a ‘Certified Dark Sky Park’ and required a strict adherence to ‘dark sky’ guidelines when designing to achieve this certification. LED lighting was chosen for the site that can be switched to red light, preserving the night vision.
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