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Feilden Clegg Bradley visitor centre opens at Jodrell Bank

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[First look + plans] Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios’ £3 million visitor centre at the Jodrell Bank Observatory, Cheshire, has opened its doors to the public

The 1,000m² Discovery Centre features a new entrance building called the Planet Pavilion and a multi-purpose exhibition and event space, the Space Pavilion.

The building also has a glass-walled café with views of the 76m Lovell Telescope, the only telescope powerful enough in 1957 to track the rocket that carried the Soviet satellite Sputnik into space.

Owned by the University of Manchester, the site has been shortlisted for World Heritage status.

Previous story (AJ 10.03.10)

2010: A Space Odyssey - FCBS unveils Jodrell Bank visitor centre

[FIRST LOOK + PROJECT DATA] Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS) has submitted plans for a new visitor centre at the famous Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire

The 1,000m² Discovery Centre project at The University of Manchester’s star gazing hotspot will feature a new ‘Planet Pavilion’ entrance building and a ‘Space Pavilion’ multi-purpose exhibition and event space.

The scheme, which is being project managed by Capita Symonds, will also feature a ‘Galaxy Maze’ based on the shape of the Milky Way.

Featuring the iconic 76m Lovell Telescope - the only telescope in the world powerful enough to track the rocket that carried the Soviet satellite Sputnik into space in 1957 - the site is currently part of the University’s School of Physics and Astronomy.

The ‘phase one’ plans have been lodged with Cheshire East Council and are part of a proposed, wider redevelopment of the visitor facilities.

Funding is still be sought for the scheme.

Bernard Lovell, founder of the Jodrell Bank Observatory and creator of the Lovell Telescope, said: ‘I am delighted to hear that there are plans to upgrade the facilities for visitors to the site.

‘The very modern design that has been developed reflects the fact that the work of Jodrell Bank is at the forefront of research into astrophysics. The new facilities will pass on the spark of inspiration to the school pupils who are the scientists of the future. I look forward to this development going ahead very soon.’


Architects: FCBS
Location: Cheshire – at the University’s Jodrell Bank Observatory site
Type Of Project: Science Discovery Centre
Structural Engineer: Capita Symonds
Project Architect: FCBS
Design Team: FCBS, Capita Symonds and RPS Gregory
Client: University of Manchester
Funding: Not known as no funding secured to date
Tender date: Not known as no funding secured to date
Start on site date: Not known as no funding secured to date
Contract duration: Not known as no funding secured to date
Gross internal floor area: Two buildings - 398m2 plus 548m2. Total 946m2 
Form of contract and/or procurement: Not known as no funding secured to date
Total cost: Not known as still officially at Stage C            
M&E consultant: RPS Gregory
Quantity surveyor: Capita Symonds
Planning supervisor: Capita Symonds 
Lighting consultant:  Not appointed
Main contractor: Not known as no funding secured to date
Selected subcontractors and suppliers: Not known as no funding secured to date
Annual co2 emissions: Not known at the moment



Jodrell Bank has been ‘instrumental’ in numerous scientific discoveries, including providing the best test of Einstein’s theory of gravity - General Relativity. The site currently operates the UK’s e-MERLIN network of telescopes on behalf of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). Once fully operational, this fast and powerful network of seven radio telescopes will allow astronomers to carry out observations which previously took several years in just a single day.

Jodrell Bank also hosts the global headquarters for the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope – a huge £1 billion international project that will survey the sky thousands of times faster than any imaging radio telescope ever built.


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