The building includes the facilities and services (control room, stores, workshops, laboratories, offices, power plant, water coolers, lifting elements, fire prevention, coating facilities, etc.) required for the normal telescope operation, support and maintenance. Considering the current design of the telescope pier composed of a conical concrete tower approximately 30 m high containing the Coudé room with instruments at its base, it is proposed to attach the main building containing the required facilities to the pier. In order to minimize vibration and local seeing degradation, the services generating heat, smoke or vibration will be placed in an additional auxiliary building placed in the downwind direction away from the telescope location. This building will be connected to the telescope building by means of a supply gallery. Additionally, all the surroundings of the telescope will have to be urbanized to provide access to both pedestrians and traffic, including lorries.
During the design study, the effect of the shape of the building on the air turbulence generated at the telescope level has been analysed, comparing a box-shaped building and a more aerodynamic circular building distributed around the pier. Since the turbulence obtained is similar for both configurations, if the pier is high enough, it is proposed to attach the building concentrating the facilities to one side of the pier in order to improve functionality. In order to improve the observing conditions during most of the day, it is proposed to place the building in the west, where it can be flushed by the predominant northerly wind without affecting the telescope environment. A western orientation can be changed from north-west to south-west depending on the telescope site that is finally selected.
The design of the main building is based on organic geometry, linked to the vernacular architecture, which provides greater flexibility than orthogonal geometry and facilitates integration with the conical pier (see Figure). A small rotation of volume is proposed to provide a dynamic look related with the dynamic phenomena produced in the Sun, allowing an artistic integration of the entire system. This rotation generates terraces where façade openings can be located for access and views.
The building is organized in four floors above ground and an additional underground service floor. The 4 floors above ground are needed in order to access the floor above the Coudé laboratory inside the telescope pier, from where there is access to the telescope platform. The building is layered in order to reduce the impact of wind flow. The facilities inside the building are distributed, placing the hard working areas on the north side and the inhabited areas on south side for greater comfort (leeward, warmer and more illuminated).
The vertical communications and handling core is placed in the centre of the building to work as the organizer of all the surrounding areas. The 5 ton large lift, the stairs and the services shafts are located together in the heart of the building and directly connect all the levels inside the telescope pier with the exterior access. The communications between the different areas and the telescope pier will be through an optimized direct corridor, minimizing the ratio between constructed and service-dedicated surface.