Advancing the Education of Young Architecture Graduates through Foreign Travel-Study
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by Denise Nugent — Winner of Fellowship Competition

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The professions of architecture and astronomy have, for centuries, shared a close relationship. Our endless fascination with the cosmos has fueled our mythology, our culture of scientific exploration, and centuries-worth of architecture form. From Greek, Roman and Renaissance, to Neoclassical works of Nicolas Ledoux. The architectural form has served as the storyteller of our discoveries, as the realized form of scientific dedication and fascination. The observatory's common form is geometrically functional, for the telescope and the humans who use it. It also formally embodies the grandeur of a building that holds religious purpose. The site context of being housed on a hilltop adds an almost ritualistic procession to the destination.

The Fremont Peak Observatory aims to revitalize the mysticism of astronomy. The visitor's journey through peak continues into the site. Each programmatic element serves a sequential purpose. The program is organized from most public / informal to more permanent functions. Each is allowed to adhere to its topographical context and generate a character on its own, while introducing forms and conditions that will become more familiar as proceeding through the site. Each piece has a distinct roof type. As the existing observatory (to remain in its entirety) possesses its own. Each places the visitor in a context to be the figure between the boundaries of the ground and sky. The observatories are treated similarly: as stand-alone elements, relics to their history and profession. Each is encased by wall forms that encourage the reading of observatories as monuments to the site.

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