Kyriakos Tsolakis Architects has won planning permission for an astronomical research centre on top of the Troodos mountain range, which will provide NASA with information about celestial phenomena.
The architecture studio, drew inspiration from science-fiction movies for the design of the Troodos Observatory, which will be built 1,200 metres above sea level in Troodos Geopark, a 115-hectare UNESCO-listed park containing mountains covered with forests, fields, orchards and vineyards.
Studio founders Nicodemos K Tsolakis and Elena K Tsolakis describe the building as “a foreign object within a very natural organic setting”, which should “inspire and excite anyone who sees it from afar or from up close”. Tsolakis explained how he was a Star wars fan growing up and they drew inspiration from sci-fi when drawing up plans for the observatory.
The building will feature a slender, wedge-shaped form, with a dome roof at one end, and a cantilevered roof terrace at the other. It will contain two telescopes – one better suited to daytime use, and one for night. Visitors will also be invited to bring their own telescopes up onto the roof terrace, so they can also participate in stargazing. Structurally, the building will be designed to withstand severe temperature fluctuation – from 40 degrees centigrade in summer to below freezing, with snow in winter.
The Troodos Observatory is set to become the first purpose-built observatory in Cyprus and it will collect data to share with NASA, which is currently unable to track celestial phenomena between India and the Mediterranean. In fact, Cyprus is ideal to set up an observatory that will be interconnected with the Observatory of Crete and then with other European observatories as part of an observatory network.