Jodrell Bank observatory

Jodrell Bank observatory

Research Facilities
Macclesfield, United Kingdom - Build completed in 2012
Painting the Night Sky with ArtMe

story by Qbiss

Painting the Night Sky with ArtMe
Painting the Night Sky with ArtMe
Qbiss as Manufacturers
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Jodrell Bank Observatory

FCB 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.


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.


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.

Painting the Night Sky with ArtMe

Qbiss as Manufacturers

FCB studios created a cosmic facade design telling the story of the cosmos itself for the Jodrell Bank observatory at the University of Manchester.


Highlighting the Jodrell Bank’s research at the forefront of astrophysics, the 1000 m2 building is clad with Trimoterm Invisio panels, in black, which have been inscribed with a radiowave, space-like design. The black colour represents the night sky, while the end-to-end swirls and wave-like textures echo the sounds of the cosmos and draw the view into a space-age world.


More from the Manufacturer: 


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.


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”.


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.


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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