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FCBS completes rotating observatory

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A team of young designers from Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios has completed this timber rotating observatory

The observatory, which was partly funded by Arts Council England, acts as a sculpture, workspace, shelter and a look–out and has been designed by four architecture graduates from Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.

The two buildings have been constructed from both home-grown and imported larch which was charred for use as external cladding.

Each timber pod has wheels built into its base which allow it to be independently rotated to face the best views. The system is manually operated using a crank handle with a 360-degree rotation taking about six minutes to complete.

The scheme will move around four locations throughout the next two years and is currently located at the Winchester Science Centre in the South Downs National Park where it will stay for six months before moving to Lymington Salt Marshes in the New Forest National Park in July.

It will be used as a space for local artists who will take up residencies within the study and workshop pods.

The project was masterminded by arts organisations SPUD, which was also behind PAD Studio’s Stephen Lawrence Prize-shortlisted Exbury Egg scheme.

SPUD’s principal associate, Mark Drury, said: ‘By its very nature, the observatory will be theatrical, eye-catching, unusual and unique. The whole programme will focus on developing new audiences – those that would not normally visit a gallery and perhaps have little, if any, opportunity to directly interact with an artist. It will take both art and artists out into the community.’

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