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For the RASA (Rotterdamse Academy voor Stadsastronauten) I developed a spatial concept for future urban star gazing. If it would be possible to create urban star observatories, the rooftops of skyscrapers would be the place to do it. Positioned above the light filled city we could transform skyscraper rooftops into public spaces with monumental spatial structures that could function as a peaceful retreat within the city centre.

Using Rotterdam as a case study, the three identical skyscrapers “Boompjes” aligned with the Maas river are the ideal generic pedestals to place these observatories.

Monumentality is frequently accomplished by radical simplicity; therefore, I’ve chosen the most basic geometric shapes for our observatories: The rectangular, circular and triangular high walled spaces frame the sky and block the city light.


The complexity is to be found in the design of the threshold to enter the spaces. Each observatory has a spiral floorplan. The spiral is a continuous threshold, helping the citizens to gradually distantiate themselves from the city and get used to the darkness of the observatory where they transform into stargazer voyagers.

© Cédric Van Parys

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