The Hillside Observatory

The Hillside Observatory was designed to be both an observatory and a true ‘man shed’ for its owner, Nick.

To achieve this we used a split floor design, which made full use of the sloping location to give a generous 6’2″ headroom in the warm room, whilst still providing low horizons in the large 8′ square observatory. This larger observatory represented our first use of a more substantial frame, using 4″x4″ posts for additional rigidity.

Our customer chose Silva Timber‘s Siberian Larch channel cladding as the final finish – an excellent long-life cladding with a distinctive channel profile that provides both excellent weatherproofing and a delightful shadow-gap. The symmetrical profile allows the cladding to be applied vertically or horizontally, giving a very consistent appearance.

This was our first use of a new door design too – here we use a plain hardwood external fire door, which is clad with the same Siberian Larch as the rest of the observatory. The use of the fire door provides excellent security as well as dimensional stability as the seasons change.

This design also features our first use of UPVC edging trims with our EPDM roof. The trims provide a very neat finish on all sides, channeling water as required and allowing it to drip harmlessly away from the side of the observatory without any need for a clumsy gutter. Both the door design and roof edging trims have become standard features on our observatories.

Roofing-grade OSB3 board provides a consistent, hard-wearing and water-resistant internal wall covering, and the window between the warm room and the observatory is glazed with laminated glass. A desk was also installed, made from the same lovely phenolic ply as the floor.

All our observatories feature a five-lever insurance-rated mortice lock, and beautiful wrought-iron style external door hardware.

Siberian Larch

Siberian Larch (Larix Sibirica) grows natively from the Finnish border eastwards to central Siberia in Russia and is a frost-hardy species capable of surviving in freezing temperatures. As a result it grows very slowly and this gives it some wonderful properties – it is dense and resinous, which gives it extraordinary longevity, and also utterly beautiful.little light as you wish. Building them into the walls means no bulky fittings or obstructions, maximising the space in your observatory.

Warm Room

If you’re using your observatory for imaging, a warm room can make a huge difference to your comfort and convenience. It’s a separate, heated, and fully insulated room, with a window to the main observatory, where you can control your telescope and camera from a place of warmth and comfort! We usually include a number of extra sockets and a desk, and a cable channel so that you can route cables under the floor to the pier.

Phenolic Ply Floor

All our observatories feature our phenolic ply flooring. It’s an incredibly hard-wearing birch-based plywood, treated with a phenolic resin coating that makes it impervious to water, dirt and, well, everything! It’s commonly used as the beds of flatbed trailers, and on outdoor play equipment – which should be some indication of its ability to survive muck and moisture! For you, it’s an easy-to-clean, non-slip, hard-wearing floor that needs no additional coverings!

Overall Size (mm):3600 (L) x 2400 (W) x 2494 (H)
 Observatory Size (Internal, mm):2178 (L) x 2178 (W) x 1650 (H)
 Warm Room Size (Internal, mm):1189 (L) x 2178 (W) x 1760 (H)
 Total length including frame (mm):6094
 Roof type:Flat roof, rolling off 2494mm
 Exterior Cladding:Siberian Larch Channel cladding, vertically applied
 Interior Wall Lining:OSB3
 Roof Covering:One-piece EPDM rubber membrane
 Roof Pitch:1:50
 Additional Features:Stepped design, provides additional height in warm room
Location:Surrey, UK
Completed:June 2014
Approximate Project Cost*:£9,740

* Approximate project cost does not include VAT, haulage, groundworks, telescope or pier, and represents what a similar project might cost if completed now, including any improvements to our base specification.