star axis: a naked-eye observatory projects cosmic dimensions into human scales

star axis: a naked-eye observatory projects cosmic dimensions into human scales

naked-eye observation of cosmic phenomena

 

‘star axis’ designed by charles ross is an architectural sculpture for naked-eye observation of cosmic phenomena. the project was conceived by the artist in 1971 and began building in 1976 in the desert of the new mexico, after a 4-year search for the ideal site. as its name reveals, the structure is precisely aligned with the earth’s axis and arranged by earth-to-star alignments. the giant sculpture offers visitors an intimate experience of celestial dimensions compared to the human scale. star axis: a naked-eye observatory projects cosmic dimensions into human scales all images courtesy of charles ross

 

 

star axis is about light, time, and planetary motion 

 

made of granite, sandstone, bronze, stainless steel, and earth, star axis (see more here) spans eleven stories in height and 1/10th of a mile in width. it furthermore features five main elements with the ‘star tunnel’ being its core. at this chamber, the viewer can walk through layers of celestial time, making directly visible the 26,000-year cycle of precession, earth’s shifting alignment with the stars.

 

 

the ‘solar pyramid’ takes shape as a 55-foot high granite tetrahedron whose form is defined by the summer and winter solstices. the third chamber, dubbed ‘the shadow field’ captures the shape traced by all of the solar pyramid’s daily shadows over the course of the year. from inside the ‘hour chamber’ one can view one hour of earth’s rotation, while from inside the ‘equatorial chamber’ one can observe the stars that travel directly above the equator. star axis offers an intimate experience of how the earth’s environment extends into the space of the stars.

star axis: a naked-eye observatory projects cosmic dimensions into human scales

star axis: a naked-eye observatory projects cosmic dimensions into human scales
solar pyramid

star axis: a naked-eye observatory projects cosmic dimensions into human scales
the star tunnel is the core of star axis

star axis: a naked-eye observatory projects cosmic dimensions into human scales
the upper room is at the top of the star tunnel

star axis: a naked-eye observatory projects cosmic dimensions into human scales
star trails

star-axis-charles-ross-naked-eye-observation-cosmic-phenomena-designboom-21800

solar pyramid with entrance to hour chamber

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy

ARCHITECTURE IN THE US (1194)

OBSERVATORY ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN (126)

SCULPTURE (183)

PRODUCT LIBRARY

a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

designboom will always be there for you

milan, new york, beijing, tokyo,  since 1999
X
5