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The Hide Observatory

Our Hide Observatory was commissioned for couple who were both keen astronomers and bird watchers.  Our brief was to build an observatory that would make the most of the low Southern horizon but contain a full-height, well-insulated warm room that would double as a bird watching hide.

In this design, we kept the overall size of the observatory under the 10 square metres mark (important to ensure it qualified as ‘permitted development’ in its sensitive rural location) whilst shortening the roll-off frame to allow as much space as possible for the warm room.

Opening flaps were installed on the North, West and South walls of the warm room to allow panoramic views of the client’s garden, bird feeders and a neighbouring field; each can be opened from the inside and is secured with two bolts when closed.  The height of the flaps, as with everything we design, was carefully calculated for its purpose: if you put your elbows on the desk, it’s just right for looking out with a pair of binoculars.

The observatory end of the building is equally carefully thought out, providing just the right amount of space to move around the telescope on all sides.  Wall height was reduced to keep the horizons low, necessitating a slightly taller roof, which itself is carefully designed to accommodate a taller than average ceiling in the warm room.

The foundations for the Hide Observatory comprised just eight paving slabs laid on sharp sand, with the pier anchored on a cubic metre of concrete for stability.

Located amongst young fruit trees, the observatory already fits perfectly in its location, thanks to careful placement and a sympathetic choice of finish.  As the trees grow around it, and the wood naturally silvers, it will gradually blend beautifully with the nature around it.

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