The Carter Observatory is one of a distinctive group of historic scientific buildings adjacent to the Wellington Botanic Gardens.
The original observatory was designed in 1940 by the renowned architect Gray Young.With additions made in the 1960s and 1990s, the modern collection of buildings became disparate; their interiors complex to navigate and the exterior confused, In addition to lack of insulation and effective heating and cooling systems, the facility was not being used to its full potential.
At this point, Jasmax was commissioned to revitalise the Observatory, to make it once again a must-see attraction.With visitor numbers currently three times forecasts, this has been achieved.
To reach this goal, the design team sought to reconfigure the interior as a cohesive whole, accommodating a new entry, exhibition area, retail area, a refurbished planetarium and new education or event areas.
The Carter Observatory now features an exhibition, designed by Story Inc!, and a planetarium show. Jasmax’s work in revitalising the exhibition spaces involved weaving new systems such as HVAC,data, lighting, electrical and earthquake strengthening into the existing fabric of the exhibitions whilst ensuring historical integrity of the building was maintained.
The most prominent visual change is at the entry. The cantilevered stainless steel mesh and glass canopy signals new events inside, and alludes to space travel technology. This canopy is offset by a woven timber screen wrapping around the planetarium and referencing pacific cultures in the southern hemisphere.