Project Protography by Jack Storey (insta @truestorey)

Grassholme Observatory for Nothumbrian Water & Gary Fildes


Completed in June 2020, this is a permenant structure with a retractable roof, housing an astronomy telescope and ancilliary equipment. 

It was commissioned in 2019 by Nothumbrian Water as a venue for nightime talks and classes.

We were invited to be involved at the conception of the project by Mosedale Gillatt Architects along with Development Consultant John Holmes and astronomer Gary Fildes who were instrumental in setting up the Kielder Observatory.

We were presented with the opportunity to develop a system that worked around many design criteria including a retractable roof that would allow correct line of site for the telescope as well as sufficient headroom when retracted, as well as all typical building regs and DDA compliance requirements.

This was reviewed and developed collaboratively with Jenny Gillatt and the wider team.

Our proposal was a a full steel frame clad in Siberian Larch featheredge board and lined internally with plywood, and supported on localised concrete pads. Structural calcs were provided by Albos.

The motorised roof is a lightweight framework which when open forms a sheltered waiting area under the larch strip bris soleil.

The pads and wider groundworks were performed by Gowland & Dawson.