PRISM: The Observatory Houses, Roccascalegna, Italy

PRISM: The Observatory Houses: Roccascalegna, Italy

PRISM: Projections of Reality into Space + MinId
Italy International Competition 2017


The nocturnal sky is eternal, sublime and inaccessible. When looking at it, the human being experiences the most ancient sensation and feels overwhelmed by an ancient and inviolable mystery. A mystery that not even the most modern and refined minds can understand, despite efforts and technological progress.

Dazzled by the brightness of our metropolis, we often forget the extraordinary vision the vault of heaven can offer us. However, there are still places that are far from lights and cities where the beauty of the infinite appears in its entire splendor.

Surrounded by forests and crags, Roccascalegna is one of the places where this magic continues to occur and where the sky keeps on telling its eternal and beautiful story. It is a unique and far place that is both incredibly beautiful and clearly fragile. In fact, the fortress deeply depends on the constant care of the human being to preserve its characteristics and remarkable appearance.

For these reasons, Italian Exhibition Group and the Italian government launched the Observatory Houses project aiming to find a new use for Roccascalegna taking advantage of the potential of an oneiric setting with remarkable skies. The project aims at creating in Italy the first and most suggestive observatory houses. They will be a sustainable and exclusive house model aimed to ensure the protection and improvement of such inestimable heritage.

How to build a complex of modern observatory houses in a picturesque medieval fortress? How to create the most refined national reference for the astronomical observation tourism through architecture?

On the bases of these issues, designers will have to create a story composed by stars, silences and landscapes. This story will have to include architectural elements designed to create a place beyond compare. It will not be a place of mere observation or accommodation; it will be a place of spirituality and meditation. Observatory Houses wishes to promote an architectural intervention that aims at becoming a symbol destination for those who wish to move away from their everyday routine and live an archaic, almost mystic experience thanks to the most ancient and beautiful sight.

Under everlasting skies, the new observatory houses in the ancient fortress will provide an unforgettable stay for those who wish to experience the feral excitement to fall asleep under the stars rocked by the slow movement of planets and fascinated by a sudden shooting star.


PRISM: Projections of Reality into Space + Mind
The Observatory Houses: Roccascalegna, Italy

This is an illusion, “Maya” some call it. Mirrored facades that project the universe into our realm

A story about architecture/ time/ space + our consciousness.

Steeped in history, yet futuristically advanced.

Equivalent as star-gazing at the moon; traveling back in time – 1.28 light seconds.

Prism as a concept puts us in a state of suspension between past/ present + the future

We have forever as humans asked those deep-stellar questions within us …
What are we made of?
Where do we come from?
Where are we going?
Why are we here?
What is consciousness?

Roccascalegna being the prism through which the universe shines,

We hope to discover some of the answers.