artist and founder of the design collaborative ‘I STIFFEN THEE’, neal lucas hitch completes the ocotillo observatory in the southern california desert, which invites people to take on an indigenous view of the cosmos. ‘the ultimate purpose of the observatory is to encourage people to ponder what it means to exist in our universe: an ever-expanding kaleidoscope of collapsing light’, expresses the artist. 


all images © breyden anderson

 

 

hitch designed and built the observatory with a method that focused on process. the program called for a circular space that blocks the visitor’s view of all man-made constructs and was built using traditional methods of stucco on straw bales. the form of the ring accommodates varying sizes of bales, changing sight conditions, and limited maneuvering of industrial equipment. after the bales were set into the foundation, they were unified with a stucco finish. the result is a structure which consists of myriad spaces and crevices that allow visitors to explore and utilize as they want. as described by the artist, it is a ‘primordial form that becomes an extension of the desert; as permanent as the world it dwells in’. 


the structure is located in a remote area of the southern california desert


western view of observatory


eastern view


interior view


the structure invites visitors to look upwards into the extended universe


detail of stucco wall


detail of facet in western wall


original concept: watercolor

 

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: lea zeitoun | designboom

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