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Students have designs on Northumberland's dark skies


Stargazers will be able to appreciate Kielder’s dark skies in comfort next year, thanks to a group of architecture students.

Since June 2013, MA Architecture students from Newcastle University have been working with Kielder Art & Architecture to create a permanent Stargazing Pavilion for the small Northumberland community of Stonehaugh.

Designed and built by the students themselves, the pavilion will celebrate the new Gold Tier Dark Sky Park status awarded to Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water & Forest Park this month. ??The pavilion will act as a focal point to attract amateur stargazers to the area, host events and encourage more tourism.

“Students have worked closely with local residents to engage them in the design and construction process, holding multiple consultation days to gain ideas and thoughts and ensure that the pavilion responds to the community’s aspirations,” says Graham Farmer, director of architecture, who is overseeing the project.

“As well as providing space for stargazing, the pavilion also offers shelter for wildlife watching and its surroundings will include a newly-planted wildflower meadow of native species.”

The project follows on from work done by the same students earlier this year in which a pop-up café was created from up-cycled cardboard and other materials, known as U-Café.

Work has just begun on the Stargazing Pavilion, where students are building with donated materials alongside the local community. It is scheduled to finish in early 2014.

published on: 10 December 2013