Haresua Forest is 45 kilometres north of Oslo in the Lunner municipality. It is here that Snøhetta Studio has created a new planetarium and a visitor centre for the largest astronomical structure in Norway, named Solobservatoriet. The complex is located 580 metres above sea level and is designed to offer visitors a trip to discover one of the most important astronomical research stations in Northern Europe, as well as admire the charm of the Northern Lights.
The project includes a planetarium that spans over 1500 square metres, equipped with interstellar cabins in the shape of small planets, dedicated to various scientific activities in the field of astronomy. The new visitor centre, owned by the Tycho Brahe Institute, is located next to the original solar observatory, a twelve-meter research tower built by the University of Oslo for the total solar eclipse of 1954.
In the design phase, the architects of the Norwegian firm studied the basic principles of astronomy to develop a series of cabins, which can host a total of 118 guests, placed around the planetarium, imitating the way the planets orbit around the Sun. The smallest, Zolo, has a diameter of 6 meters and is equipped with two beds for one night under the stars.
The planetarium is characterised by a sinuous roof covered with grass, wild heather and cranberry bushes that envelop the golden dome. Semi-hypogeum, the three-story theatre emerges from the earth like a globe engraved with constellations, gradually revealing itself. Inside, the celestial theatre allows a realistic projection of stars, planets and celestial objects and has a reception, bar and exhibition area with a spiral ramp that leads to the mezzanine and the roof.