Goldendale Observatory, An Immersive Landscape Under the Stars

Project Title: Goldendale Observatory, An Immersive Landscape Under the Stars
Landscape Architect: Walker Macy
Category: General Design, Public Ownership
Award: Award of Merit
Location: Goldendale, WA
Goldendale Observatory, located in a remote area of southern Washington, houses one of the largest public telescopes in the nation. Owned and operated by Washington State Parks, the existing facility was utilitarian in character and organized around vehicular access. The building had exceeded its lifespan and was failing to meet the needs of visitors. The expansion and redesign of the Observatory provides a compelling destination with unique programming throughout the day and night, accommodating a wide range of visitors, school groups, and amateur astronomers. The new landscape offers an immersive, contextually responsive design that elevates the facility's status as a regional destination. The landscape architect extended the Observatory program into the site, created spaces that encourage exploration and learning, and restored a large portion of the site with native planting. Since the project opened in 2021, it has been a huge success, hosting numerous special events and lectures. This project demonstrates the richness possible in a small project where unique program, storytelling, and restorative site design are integrated into a cohesive experience. 

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