Gemma is a private astronomical observatory, located on a remote mountain peak in New Hampshire, at the center of a three-mile radius “dark” landscape with very little light pollution to allow sky observations. The project was designed by Anmahian Winton Architects an architecture practice based in Massachusetts; they believe that architecture is an expression of culture, forged in relation to a complex set of circumstances that are at once practical and intangible.
For Gemma observatory it was not designed a traditional dome but a synthesized architectural form that maximizes usable space and responds to the geographic context. Unlike typically domed observatories, the building has a geometrical shape and is clad in lock-seamed zinc to echo its sharp granite surroundings. In contrast, the interior is lined with fir plywood to create a cozy atmosphere from the rocky landscape. The walls are super-insulated to prevent heat exchange between outside and inside. Designed to accommodate only one occupant, the ground floor offers space for a research office, a sleeping bunk, and a warming room. A helical staircase leads up to a deck and continues up to the observation platform inside the turret which is equipped with a large telescope and a camera.
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