New Solobservatoriet

Nestled in the dense forest of Harestua, located 45 kilometers north of Oslo, a new planetarium and visitor center is designed to be placed near the twelve-meter research tower of Solobservatoriet, largest astronomical facility in Norway and Northern Europe.

The design comprises a brand new 1,500 m2 Planetarium at the centre of seven scattered cabins, comfortably accommodating up to 118 guests in total. Each cabin is shaped like a small, imaginary-named planet, seemingly orbiting around the planetarium, like planets orbit around the Sun. Some are halfway driven into the ground, others gently rest on the soft forest floor, as if they just landed. The smallest, Zolo, is 6 m in diameter and houses a two-bed cabin.

The Planetarium, echoing the world’s very first planetarium, conceived by Archimedes around 250 B.C., is a cross between landscape and built structure, with a green roof that visitors can stroll on to gaze up at the starry sky. Wrapping around the engraved with constellations golden cupola, the three-story theatre with 100-seat capacity emerges from the earth, gradually revealing itself as people approach.
Around it is a reception, café and exhibition area and a gently swirling ramp leading up to an exhibition mezzanine and the outdoor roofscape.
On its lowest level, below ground, the Planetarium dedicates a generous, bowl-shaped space for children to unfold.

The new facilities will offer a range of scientific activities within astronomy, sun studies and natural science, in an ambitious expansion of the current and modest facilities, turning the entire site into a publicly accessible and international knowledge hub, also providing accommodation for teambuilding and like activities.

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Images by:
© Snøhetta/Plompmozes 

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