Design Principles

Your observatory’s performance is crucial in protecting the investment you’ve made in your telescope, something we take extremely seriously in our uncompromising design process.

You’ll have no doubt read that many observatories require dehumidifiers in order to protect the equipment inside from moisture and its results: excessive moisture will lead to corrosion, mould and electronic failure.  Our observatories use a revolutionary build method that places the floor of the observatory substantially above the ground, away from moisture, whilst allowing any left-over dew or condensation to be harmlessly carried away by passive ventilation. The result is a complete absence of moisture regardless of external conditions: so far none of our fully suspended-floor observatories have ever required a dehumidifier.

Heat plumes and heat haze will dramatically impact a telescope’s ability to image the night sky.  Our observatories deliberately minimise thermal mass in order to ensure that they cool rapidly (inside and out) – making the telescope ready for deployment whenever you choose.  Should you require a warm room, these are insulated and sealed to ensure that the warmth stays where it is needed.  Likewise our observatories incorporate plenty of ventilation to ensure that the inside does not heat up dramatically under the Summer Sun.

An observatory’s ergonomics impact directly on the enjoyment of its user – especially when you consider that it is used in the dark.  Key aspects such as floor and door height, openings, sight lines and access are considered in detail to ensure every observatory is both comfortable and pleasurable to use for its individual owner.  This can only be achieved by asking key questions: How tall are you?  What equipment will you be using?  Are you a visual observer? What is the height and direction of objects/fences/walls etc. around the observatory site?

Astronomy is a lifetime interest for many of us – and indeed purchasing an observatory-class telescope is often a once-in-a-lifetime event.  It stands to reason that the observatory you choose to house it in should last just as long.  Whilst moisture performance is key to preventing timber rot, our observatories go further.  Our choice of materials is key to this: all our structural timber is pressure treated (tanalised) to prevent rot and decay.  Our flooring is a high-performance ‘phenolic ply’ – an incredibly hardwearing material that needs no floor-covering and is completely impervious to water: you’ll recognise it as the ‘bed’ of many flatbed trailers. Our roofs employ a high quality EPDM rubber membrane – which under normal conditions should last 50 years.  Finally, you can choose from a range of outer claddings – from our standard tanalised shiplap (a premium 22mm thick treated redwood cladding) to more exotic products like Western Red Cedar or highly durable Siberian Larch or Thermowood.

Our materials and designs take into account everything we know about their environmental impact.  We deliberately eschew large quantities of concrete wherever a material with less embodied energy can be used – one reason you don’t often see our observatories sitting on concrete ‘bases’ (the other relates to moisture performance).  Our timber is FSC certified and sourced responsibly from chain-of-custody certified suppliers – and the tanalising treatment we choose is harmless to animals, soil, plants and aquatic life, but effective enough to remove the need to use environmentally difficult hardwoods.

All of these key characteristics guide our ethos of great design – not only should your observatory perform brilliantly, it should also look fantastic.  We design each one to minimise its impact on our clients’ neighbours and to fit beautifully within its surroundings; the rule is simply that it should add something to its environment, rather than take anything away.