A translucent observatory made of wood and polycarbonate

Danish architect Simon Hjermind Jensen designed an architectural structure called The Observatory, made from plywood and polycarbonate.

The project as commissioned by Munkeruphus Art Museum in Denmark for its adjacent park. The functional outcome is an open structure with inside space for social events and activities.

Hjermind Jensen started his design process with a 24-hour stay on the site, to sense and experience the place both during the day and at night. During his stay, he created a ceramic model of the project, inspired by observations of the sun and the moon.

At his studio, Hjermind Jensen created new ceramic models, based on the first one. The design is inspired by tailoring: two dimensional pieces are joined into three dimensional objects. After 3D scanning the final model, the structure was transformed into flat shells made of plywood and translucent polycarbonate fabricated using CNC technology.

On site, the shells were bent into place and attached to each other with special-made joinings, inspired by the silhouettes of leaves. Thanks to the curves, the structure is very strong and stable. The Observatory is 5.7 m tall, with walls of only 4 to 9 mm thick.

Inside, the structure features a wooden bench, offering space for 25 people, an earthen floor and a concrete podium, which can be used a s a stage of have a bonfire. The oculus, an opening in the top, leads out the smoke. The oculus is titled towards the south, where the sun culminates daily and he boom culminates when it’s full.

“And like the characters of our surroundings changes and shift from day to night the Observatory changes too,” Hjermind Jensen states, “especially when a bonfire is lit after nightfall: The inside spatial experience changes with the light coming from the ground, and seen from the outside the upper part glows in a pink colour created from the light from the flames.”

The project is supported by The Danish Arts Foundation and Knud Højgaards Fond.

Photos: SHJ Works