AWA’s entry to the RIBA international competition for a new observatory located in the Kielder Forest aims for an architectural solution synergised from the abundant material resources of the site and the immediate context of the striking hillside.

Working to a tight budget, the scheme generator was the portrayal of time within its immediate and wider universal theoretical context. This concept was developed whilst visiting Kielder and observing the sun and stars passage across the sky viewed through the branches of the trees. The resultant shadow movement across the forest floor was noted as a visible representation of celestial motion.

This depiction of cyclic astronomical movement within the narrative of time informed the selection of the primary building form. Universal forces are physically and metaphorically demonstrated via complex shadows generated by a slatted timber skin to the two observatory installations. Its position in space and the patterns generated are the direct result of planetary motion.

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