Jodrell Bank Observatory

FCB Studios (Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios) as Architects

In 2009 the University of Manchester’s Centre for Astrophysics appointed us to masterplan the famous Jodrell Bank Observatory site and then design a series of new buildings within the park of the Grade 1 listed Lovell Radio Telescope.

photo_credit Hufton & Crow
Hufton & Crow

The first project brief was to create an inspirational visitor centre to communicate the importance and relevance of the scientific research undertaken at Jodrell to a wider audience.

photo_credit Hufton & Crow
Hufton & Crow

Following the completion of the visitor centre, the University of Manchester asked the team to help expand the scientific research facilities on site and design the global HQ for the world’s next-generation radio telescope known as the Square Kilometre Array. Third and fourth phases of work are ongoing.

photo_credit Hufton & Crow
Hufton & Crow
photo_credit Hufton & Crow
Hufton & Crow
photo_credit Hufton & Crow
Hufton & Crow
photo_credit Hufton & Crow
Hufton & Crow
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Painting the Night Sky with ArtMe

Trimo as Manufacturers

It is often said, all too lightly sometimes, how a product was 'perfect' for a project. However, in the case of the Jodrell Bank project ... ArtMe is not only perfect, but “out there” ...

Jodrell Bank observatory, set in the heart of the UK's countryside in Cheshire is an observatory attached to the University of Manchester, and the site is as much about valuable general education as it is about high-level research. The presence of the huge, dish-like antenna, is a fabulous attraction, as well as being inspiring. An educational visitor's centre has been on-site since 1971, but recent investment was received to refresh the buildings and at the same time construct a new ‘Planet Pavilion,’ which will host many exhibitions and space-themed attractions.

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Architects, Fielden Clegg Bradley studios were commissioned for the design and wanted to create a “very modern design that reflects the fact that the work of Jodrell Bank is at the forefront of research into astrophysics ... as well as “pass on the spark of inspiration to school pupils who are the scientists of the future”.

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A futuristic project required a futuristic product - and Trimo’s ArtMe was chosen to create a stunning cosmic design on the facade that told a story of the cosmos itself, as well as reflecting the purpose, function, and educational values of the building. The 1000 m2 building was clad in Trimoterm Invisio panels, in black, and inscribed with the most dramatic radio-wave and space-like design.

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The black colour represents the darkness of the night sky, with the ArtMe design breathing life into its form, and adding function. From end-to-end the swirls and lines and wave-like textures echo the sounds of the cosmos and draw the viewer into a space-age world. Against a clear blue sky, the structure is both dramatic and emotive and a signature reference for both Trimo and Trimo’s ArtMe.

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Jodrell Bank

WPL (UK) Ltd as Manufacturers

Space is the final frontier, but not for WPL who designed manufactured and built a scaled down version of the Milky way over a picnic environment for visitors to the famous Jodrell Bank Observatory, part of the University of Manchester.

The anodised aluminium panels offer a magnificent finish wholly synchronised with this cutting edge space facility being home to the third largest steerable radio telescope tracking Stars and Planets which make up our Galaxy or better known as the Milky Way.

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Hence, the Design Team at WPL was asked to produce an exact replica of the Map of the Milky Way into solid aluminium panels using in-house CNC operated machinery with awe inspiring detail. The possibilities are endless with perforations thanks to WPL’s CNC operated turret press which individually punches every hole as opposed to using a line tool that punches a full row at a time.

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Clients often approach the Design Team with images that they would like to see on their perforated screens/panels which we produce into a series of holes using hole mapping software. By using multiple hole sizes WPL achieve any desired level of detail. Popular options are trees and leaves but the limitations have been extended to portraits of Roman Gladiators as well as maps of entire galaxies.

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