TYPE: CHARETTE COMPETITION
LOCATION: FREAMONT PARK ,CA
EYES FOR THE SKY,Fremont Peak Observatory
The proposal for the Fremont Peak Observatory seeks to create a strong sense of identity for the FPOA as well as integrating with its natural surroundings. The approach to the site is to preserve the existing facilities for the living quarters and rebuilding the observatory structure. The design allows for regulating access for visitors and researchers,limiting access to certain facilities while stimulating the exchange between amateur astronomers and researchers in other areas such as the Observatory and Star podium.
The egg-shape form was developed to maximize views to the mountains as well as showcasing the activities taking place inside the building form the outside, with its large glazed apertures, the Eyes. Visitors would be able to see inside the building even when access would be limited. The Eyes are able to be closed with shutters when necessary. The shape of the building also intends to evoke references to astronomy and celestial bodies. The combination of form and exterior cladding material is also intended to relate to its mountainous environment, and may remind visitors of a giant boulder at the peak of a mountain. The wood shingled skin also relates to the existing observatory cladding, thus creating continuity between old and new. The observatory sits on a star-formed platform, allowing for several viewing positions for telescopes and to enjoy the spectacular views. The podium allows access to the observatory and incorporates the amphitheater which will be used for presentations. The observatory contains the visitor/activity center on the first floor. The second floor houses the telescope space with retractable roof/openings and the Meeting area. This space is intended to be as flexible as possible, and would allow visitors to access the telescope area when required.
The program called for living quarters for the caretaker and the visiting researchers. These programmatic requirements are fulfilled by the expansion of the existing facilities,at a low economical cost and by preserving the existing structures.
The project takes into consideration the climatic conditions of the site by incorporating both active and passive sustainable strategies to achieve carbon neutral buildings. Such strategies include preservation of some structures, orientation of new building, aerodynamic shape of building,planting of trees to shield from winds,application of insulation to both old and new structures, glazed areas would also make use of insulated glass and utilize the shutters as screens. Energy could be produced with photo voltaic panels as well as with wind power and water can be collected and reused.