Datong Theater - Construction Site


Gunma Astronomical Observatory

1995 - 1999

Gunma, Japan


Site Area: 69,625 sqm

Building Area: 1,743 sqm

Total Floor Area: 3,346 sqm

Official Web Site

The Gunma Astronomical Observatory is an observatory open to the public. It is equipped with a 150-centimeter reflecting telescope, a 65-centimeter reflecting telescope and many other up-to-date pieces of equipment.
The observatory is located on the side of Komochi Mountain in the village of Takayama. The observatory has a very visible architectural theme or subject: the domes in which the two telescopes are installed. The dome-with-telescope is a cliche that everyone understands immediately.
Today everything in astronomical observation is computerized, but that is impossible to represent architecturally. The facility is fitted into a boxlike building. In addition to the main part of the observatory, which is public and operates only at night, the facility includes a fan-shaped space for exhibits and re-creations of Stonehenge and the zodiacal observation platforms in Jaipur, India. Astronomical observation facilities from the prehistoric West and the more recent East have been added as examples from cultural history. The place is in effect a cultural and scientific theme park.
These monuments are fairly faithful re-creations. Their angles have been adjusted for the present latitude and longitude so that they can function as the originals did when they were first constructed.