Aurora Borealis Arctic Observatory

The exceptional location is marked with nature in its purest form: surrounding forest and fascinating Northern Lights. The role of the architecture should be – to connect those two specific elements. Nordic light observatory is located higer on the hill deep in the forest. One of the reasons for the specific location is the journey that visitor has to made. The relative long path through the forest prepares the visitor to a different, natural environment . Another reason are Northern Lights. Even though we cannot say exactly where Aurora will be visable, the location should provide the best view away from artificial urban lights of Rovaniemi. The main goal of the project is to present an architecture that will spark visitors imagination and ‘help them rediscover our primitive instincts’. We didn’t want to create classic urban hotel that will spoil the experience. The idea was to create individual small cabins, where visitors could be more connected with nature. All cabins nestle freely in the landscape of the forest. They are simple and rigorous, but also quirky and playful. The idea is taken from traditional finish Kota. We took the shape of Kota and modified it for the new program. Each cabin top is covered with glass to catch the beauty of Northern lights. In this way every room gets its own surprising view of a dramatic piece of landscape and northern lights. This is the place of relaxation and observation. The reception and planetarium is located at the “entrance” of the area. Sauna is close to cabins but far enough to insure privacy. Observatory is located on higher level, on the little platform hidden away from the artificial lights of main area. The cabins are suited for extreme environment and made from local wood. The slopes are not allowing snow to stay on the cabin. During the summer, when there is 24 hour sunlight, each cabin provides internal shutters. The project prosposes a connection between man with his primal idea of shelter, nature in its purest form and the glories of his planet.

Architecture: Matej Mejak, Katja Aljaž Year: 2012 International Competition _ Honorable Mention

arctic observatory renderji