Snøhetta’s French planetarium inspired by the continuous movement of the heavens

Images taken by Jad Sylla
Norwegian architect Snøhetta has announced the opening of the Orionis planetarium and observatory in the city of Douai, northern France.

The design is based on the domes of the projection room and the observatory, enclosed in a curved facade. According to Snøhetta, this is inspired by the “elliptical and continuous movement of the stars”.

Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, Snøhetta’s co-founder, said: “Being continuous, fluid and perpetual are notions that we have reinterpreted in the project, not only in terms of the shape but also in the experience that visitors will have of the planetarium – all senses employed.”

The building is linked by a slightly inclined ramp, visible from the outside through the partly translucent façade, which is also inspired by the materials used at the nearby Arkéos archaeological museum.

Work on the building began in 2019, with Snøhetta collaborating with CET Ingénierie, Impact Conseil et Ingénierie, Cicanord, Studio Dap and Atelier Silva Landscaping.

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