Sleeping under the stars is about to feel a lot more real.
Across the world, everyone looks up at the stars. Whether it’s in the comfort of a backyard, or on the expanse of a football field, we yearn for the sky’s stunning imagery.
Now, this imagery is going to feel even closer. The Solobservatoriet campus, an astronomical research observatory center in Norway, is developing an expansion that will further echo the universe’s stunning geometry.
Originally occupied by the US military to spy on Soviets during the Cold War, the facility is planning to expand its decades-old design in order to attract larger crowds of tourists and researchers. The planetarium will be built half-sunken into the ground and constructed with three stories - each level with something different, with the lowest level dedicated to an area for visiting children.
Once inside, the planetarium will also operate as a celestial theater, as the dome is going to be covered in grass, wild heather, blueberry, and lingonberry bushes as guests peer towards the starry sky above them. It is designed to resemble the world’s very first planetarium, which was conceived by Archimedes around 250 B.C.
“The untouched landscape at the site is one of the most important qualities for the experience,” said Ingebjørg Skaare, senior architect at Snøhetta, in an interview with Quartzy. “Being in the nature is [like] being among stars and planets.”
Outlined by Snøhetta, a Norwegian architecture firm, the planetarium will also be surrounded by various planet-shaped cabins. These cabins will be occupied by staying guests who are eager to learn more about astronomy while also sleeping beneath the world’s greatest wonders. The largest cabin will be able to accommodate 32 people, and the smallest cabin is able to sleep two.
While visiting the facility, guests will not only be able to observe a universal view of the stars, but also have a chance of witnessing the Northern Lights. With Norway being a leading location for the sensation colour palettes to appear, guests are most likely to see the lights during its peak time season starting in November and ending around March.
The observatory is due to be completed in 2020 and will be the largest solar observatory north of the Alps.