Hassell's grass-covered dome will celebrate the stars at Jodrell Bank
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Hassell's grass-covered dome will celebrate the stars at Jodrell Bank

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The completion of the First Light pavilion will mark a new era for Jodrell Bank. It will introduce new generations to the rich history of the site and the wonders of radio astronomy.
– Julian Gitsham

Construction has begun on a Hassell-designed grass-covered dome pavilion at Jodrell Bank to help celebrate the site’s heritage and the beginnings of radio astronomy when it opens in 2021.

Jodrell Bank is located in Cheshire, UK, and is home to one of the world’s largest and most powerful radio telescopes, the Lovell Telescope, which is used to explore deep space.

The pavilion, built for the University of Manchester, will house exhibition space and a 150-seat auditorium, with visitors exiting via a café and a circular courtyard.

Its design is partly inspired by sculptures, structures and natural landforms from around the world, including Newgrange in Ireland and Fuji Kindergarten in Tokyo, and is aimed at being energy efficient and sympathetic to its natural surroundings, blending into the landscape.

The circular shape of the pavilion and its 76m (25ft) diameter reference the shape and size of the Lovell Telescope dish and the design is aimed, in part, at helping to protect and enhance views across the Jodrell Bank site and the arboretum in which it is situated.

Julian Gitsham, principal at Hassell, said: "The completion of the First Light Pavilion will mark a new era for Jodrell Bank. It will introduce new generations to the rich history of the site and the wonders of radio astronomy.

"The Observatory team has been totally committed to developing the site in a way that is sensitive to its heritage, yet transformational in its future impact. To have been part of this team is an exceptional opportunity for Hassell. We have embraced the challenge to push the boundaries of design to deliver what will undoubtedly be, a truly exceptional experience for all who visit this remarkable site."

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Construction has begun on a Hassell-designed grass-covered dome pavilion at Jodrell Bank to help celebrate the site’s heritage and the beginnings of radio astronomy when it opens in 2021.
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