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Astronomy Centre Lake Tākapo

Canterbury Commercial

This $11M state of the art multimedia indoor astronomy centre is an experience that combines both science and tātai aroraki (Māori astronomy). This joint venture between the Dark Sky Project co-founders and Ngāi Tahu Tourism features an impressive year-round day and night interactive experience that encompasses visual effects, presentations, interactive features and stories connecting the audience to the life of New Zealand’s amazing night sky.

The 1200m2 new build on the shores of Lake Takapō is an attraction that consists of a commercial, hospitality and office area featuring a Dark Sky Diner, and also offers a check-in point for their astro-tourism evening experiences. The building is proudly home to newly restored 125 year old Brashear telescope, which was a highlight for our team to install. The telescope stands up to nine meters tall and was in storage for five decades before being restored. The telescope has been carefully mounted onto a specifically designed bespoke baseplate so no movement or a seismic event can affect the finely attuned alignment. 

The build itself was complex. With its unique structure of curved walls, telescope dome and installation of the Brashear, this project was a real highlight in our Canterbury team’s portfolio. Managed with careful forecasting and planning to meet and complete these complex construction details and client requirements, our team delivered a quality project in time for the important opening day on the 1st of July.

To have “dark sky” you need a remote location. Perfect for the stars - challenging for a build. The remote location on the shores of Lake Takapō required clever solutions to logistical challenges.  Temperamental weather conditions in Takapō and travel to site were again managed through well-thought planning and communication alongside our Trade Partners and team.

Together with Sheppard & Rout Architects, Dark Sky Project, Ngāi Tahu Tourism and our valued Trade Partners, our team are proud of the delivery of this significant project. This incredible project holds a special place in our team’s hearts especially as it stands to protect the purest night skies in the world. 

For more information on the Dark Sky Project, you can find their website here, Dark Sky Project.