Time Observatory

From a star to the eye of the astronomer in his observatory, from a bee flying-by to the ear of the biologist in his back garden, light and sound take time to reach us and come to our senses. From Stonehenge to today’s most elaborate scientific facilities, we build observatories of all kinds to look into the past and shape our future as inhabitants of the Earth. The biggest challenge we’re facing today is the one of our relationship to the environment and conceiving in a joint effort, across generations, the ways in which we may preserve our habitat in the long run.
‘The Present’ consists of a hybrid of a nature reserve, a public gazing facility and a growing archive of thoughts for the future. It is in a sense a secular temple, scientific and spiritual, where people can freely come and connect with the natural world, the universe and with each other, through observation and conversation.
The essence of the ‘The Present’ resides in sealing the project area behind a 150 meters high wall made of the mud dug out from under the surface of the site. Protected from human intervention, the reserve within the wall is left to thrive for the next 150 years to become a gift to the future generations.
Following the construction of the Roissy airport in the 1970s, Goussainville has seen the possibility of urban expansion freeze. The need to conform to a Noise Exposure Plan (PEB), followed by the heritage classification of the church of La Talmouse, means the existing village structure on the project site can’t be touch, and only industrial development is possible until plane technology as it is known today evolves or simply disappears together with fossil fuel in the decades to come.
Outside the nature reserve, constellations of peepholes allow crowds to come and observe through the wall the development of the nature sanctuary. The perimeter of the observatory becomes an area of curiosity, and gathering. Doors scattered all around the reserve wall invite everyone to enter the underground observatory...