Kielder observatory is the star of the Civic Trust Awards
AN observatory which makes the most of the black, pollution-free skies of Northumberland proved a star turn at a major awards ceremony.
The new observatory, in Kielder Water & Forest Park, was one of two North East winners in the national Civic Trust Awards, which are celebrating their 50th anniversary.
The observatory was built to resemble a pier jutting out over the landscape at the top of Black Fell.
Built almost entirely of timber, the building is self sufficient and features include an onsite wind turbine, composting toilet and wood burning stove.
Elisabeth Rowark, Kielder Partnership director, said: “We are delighted Kielder Observatory has won for a Civic Trust Award as the awards not only recognise the best in the built environment, but also how the development benefits the wider community culturally, socially or economically; something very close to our hearts.”
The observatory was designed by Charles Barclay Architects as part of a Royal Institute of British Architects design competition which attracted hundreds of entries from all over the world.
Gary Fildes, chairman of the Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society, which runs the observatory, said: “Kielder Observatory is a fantastic resource for all who want to visit. This facility is platform to observe the wonders of this inspiring and mystical universe, from a hill top in Kielder Water & Forest Park.”
The other regional award winner at the ceremony in the Emirates Stadium in London was Northumbria University’s City Campus East.
David Pritchard, who chairs the National Awards Panel, said: “The universities sector, which, post-war, were often built on the edge of town, has a good example in Northumbria University where public through routes help encourage integration of gown with town.”
Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Wathey said: “This award confirms our belief that City Campus East is a development that has not only brought together the two sides of our campus, but has helped to further integrate the university community with the city.”