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Vase for watching stars

A structure resembling a giant vase or table lamp will be built on Crosby beach under a newly unveiled design for the Merseyside Observatory.

The winning team of Duggan Morris Architects and structural engineer Elliot Wood last week won the Royal Institute of British Architects design competition with a building that will "glow like a giant table lamp at night".

The winning design splits the building into two distinct structures – a visitor centre and an observation deck that will sit on a "table top". The project would include a sinuous tower that comprises a series of rotating ellipses that slowly diminish in size higher up the building. The tower's internal structure would be visible behind a translucent skin of photoluminescent material enabling it to glow without the need for artificial lighting. Consultant Skelly & Couch has worked on solutions for providing natural energy resources including wind energy, tidal power and solar panels.

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