Bill’s Builds: Polis Observatory

polis_observatory_rear As many of you know, the Sim of the Month for June is going to be the fabulous Galaxy – the three sim-long cruise liner that is Bill Stirling’s latest build, and which will be completed in June.

The other night, I caught up with one of Bill’s earlier creations – the Polis Observatory in Polis, and a most impressive piece of work it is too.

The approach is through a beautiful formally designed garden – in keeping, perhaps, with the original intent of the building, which was that it should be an opera house. As I approached closer, I was struck by the formal simplicity of the detailing; the columns are impressive but Doric rather than a more florid style. This is a building with dignity and self-confidence together; it doesn’t need to impress, because it knows it is impressive. Indeed, viewed from the seaward-side, there is very much a feeling of the calm and massive solidity of an architect like Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, although here in Polis the use of glass is more typical of the Beaux Artes style, yet stripped of its usual floridity.

polis_observatory_telescope But, of course, the real centre of the place is the the giant telescope inside the Great Hall. This was created by Szabo Horn of Created by Szabo, and is an incredibly complex and fascinating piece of work. And Bill ensures it displays to the best advantage too – lit by roving spotlights that could double for Luftwaffe plane spotters during the Blitz (the full effect of this is somewhat lost in a still image, but you should get some idea!).

There still some completion to do on this build; the roof should, eventually, roll back even more completely for the telescope to access the stars. But the area around already makes for a great area for visits – and also for parties.

There’ll be more about the Observatory – and about some of Bill’s other builds – in the June issue of Prim Perfect. Make sure you don’t miss out on your copy!

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