Jodrell Bank Visitors Centre

Jodrell Bank



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We were commissioned by the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, home of the Lovell Telescope, to redevelop their visitor centre in Cheshire. The studio worked closely with architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS) to design the interior of new pavilions, galleries, the shop and café on the site of this iconic telescope, built in 1951 by Bernard Lovell. To develop our scope and extract the essence of the brief we had the pleasure to work with (and quiz) a very clever team of scientists and staff.

The two new galleries provide a much-needed, increased capacity for the centre’s large numbers of visitors (how many of us remember a school trip to see this structure!?). The Planet Pavilion begins with the story of the solar system and the wonders of seeing into space. The Space Pavilion provides visitors with hands-on interactive activities, based around the workings of Jodrell Bank and the Lovell Telescope.

The design of the interiors took influence from the scientists themselves, as the spaces are used everyday as a working centre. We took numerous pictures of the astrophysicists desks and workshops where they are building new pieces of telescopic equipment. Research that takes place at Jodrell goes on satellites and to other sites around the world. Through the graphics and interactive experiences we attempted to re-create this creativity and ingenuity.

Exhibits to mention include: an enormous ‘Big Bang Cone’ in which visitors can stand and hear the sound of the big bang (or how we imagine it to sound like!); interviews with astronomers; infra-red and black hole interactives and a live data stream from the telescope.

The new visitor centre has been a huge success and after opening the Jodrell team experienced the predicted annual visitor figures in the first 4months.