A recently unveiled space observatory in Cyprus resembles a sci-fi movie set, poised for liftoff. Situated atop the Troodos mountains in the heart of the island, the Troodos Observatory, funded with 1.77 million euros ($1.90 million) from public sources, was inaugurated in May. Advocates anticipate that this project will attract visitors to regions increasingly impacted by urbanization and enhance public understanding of astronomy.

Designed by architects and sci-fi aficionados Elena, Nicodemos, and Cassandra Tsolakis, the observatory's resemblance to a spaceship was unintentional. However, the design naturally evokes such imagery, according to Elena Tsolakis. 'Yes, from certain perspectives, the building might appear like a spaceship. Was that the intention? No, but that's the impression it gives,' she explained.

The observatory's reflective cladding allows the angular structure, overlooking the village of Agridia, to blend seamlessly with either the landscape or the sky, depending on the viewer's angle. 'Part of our mandate was to create a landmark building for the area, which we believe we have accomplished,' noted Nicodemos Tsolakis.

As part of the EU-supported Geostars project aimed at revitalizing remote rural areas in Cyprus and Greece, the observatory features a 20-inch reflective telescope, the largest on the island, housed under a 5.6m rotating dome, along with a solar telescope beneath a hydraulic roof. Elena Tsolakis, recently recognized by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) as one of the world's most influential female architects, emphasized that each public space should offer a unique narrative and experience.

'We aim to evoke a sense of wonder, particularly in children, to inspire curiosity and a desire to explore the world beyond our daily lives,' she stated. A protruding section, usable as an astromarina for mobile telescopes, appears to rise from the earth, with part of the structure integrated into the mountain. Visitors might easily envision it transitioning to warp speed. Engage!