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The Observatory

  • The Observatory
  • The Observatory

Located in Northwest Arkansas, the Observatory, designed by Steven Jones, was constructed for an astronomer as a functional and unique space for viewing the day, and night, sky.

The corrugated PVC wall panels add a sense of lightness and colour to the structure. During the day their transparency shows how the observatory is constructed and at night, allows the building to glow like a lantern to signify that the astronomer is working. The glowing effect enables the astronomer to see at night while keeping his eyes adapted to the dark when moving between observatory, observation decks, and storage.

The roof is composed of residential, standing-seam metal roof panels and uses standard garage door hardware and springs to open and close.

Along with the lighting the colour accentuates the dynamic form. The typical dome or shed observatory is pre-conceived as a static form used only at night. This Observatory is also used for solar observation and will be seen throughout the day. Its form stimulates the imagination with emotion and movement, as it seems to take off and soar to the sky. The colour of the corrugated panels symbolises the sky, while the yellow reflects the sun and the colour of the autumn grass. In contrast, the grey of the exterior plywood and roof panels represent the clouds after a storm front has passed signifying clearer skies.

Architects | Steven Jones Architect, Marina del Rey, CA – USA 
Location | Springdale, AR, USA
Technical info | PVC panels
Picture credits | Steven Jones