Kielder Observatory

Charles Barclay Architects, Northumberland, 2008


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A 2km farm track leads you to the building 

David Grandorge (website)     Download Original

  • A 2km farm track leads you to the building    
  • Entrance to observation deck    
  • Exterior view    
  • View of building from across forest    
  • The building    
  • View from across forest land    
  • View of building across Northumberland landscape    
  • Two telescopes are mounted on concrete pillars independent of the main structure    
  • Side elevation    
  • The small turret seen from the walkway    
  • Interior view, entrance    
  • Observation deck    
  • Concrete pillar, independent on main structure    
  • Observation deck    
  • Timber clad interior    
  • View form small turret overlooking large turret    
  • 20 inch telescope    
  • The large turret houses a Pulsar Optical 20 inch telescope    
  • Interior view of rooflight    
  • Wind generator and photovoltaics    
  • Night shot    
  • The warm room lit at night with red light to preserve night vision    
  • Buildiing lit at night    
  • Location    
  • Site Plan    
  • Plan    
  • Section    
  • Section    

All-timber astronomical observatory in the UK's largest forest, Kielder in Northumberland

Constructed from Douglas fir with larch cladding, the pier-like building has rotating turrets that house two permanent telescopes and an observation deck for private telescopes. The turrets can be rotated through 360 degrees using a manual rack and pinion system.

The observatory generates its own energy using a wind turbine and photovoltaic panels, and includes a composting toilet.


  • Begun: Jul 2007
  • Completed: Jul 2008
  • Floor area: 100m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £415,000
  • Procurement: JCT intermediate building contract/single-stage competitive tender
  • Address: Kielder Observatory, Kielder, Hexham, Northumberland, NE48 1ER, United Kingdom

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