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Phillips Exeter Academy Grainger Observatory Building

Through a generous donor gift, Phillips Exeter Academy was the recipient of a fully automated observatory class telescope. At the time of this project, only five other telescopes like this are used in education, and all of those are at the university level.

This state-of-the-art technology not only gives students and faculty a unique educational tool, it allows researchers from around the globe to utilize this resource via its remote connection capability.

The telescope was made-to-order for the school, and the manufacturing duration for the telescope set the design and construction schedule for the observatory. Phillips Exeter Academy engaged SMRT to be the design team to coordinate the unique infrastructure and housing requirements for the telescope. Those requirements included a structurally isolated concrete pedestal to hold the telescope, suitable ambient lighting, ensuring the interior temperature of the observatory would match the exterior temperature, and coordinating the telescope controls.

The design team helped the new observatory maintain a similar feel to the existing adjacent buildings by making use of the same materials and colors, but helped this building reflect the modern technology it houses by breaking away from traditional shed forms.


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