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Out-of-this-world design for Sydney Observatory


Out-of-this-world design
for Sydney Observatory


  • Main Structure: 20-foot shipping container
  • Finished Dimensions: 9.2m X 4.8m X 2.9m (excluding dome)
  • 2.6m extension built from scratch to house telescope
  • All other additions fully fabricated at Containers First Workshop
  • Sliding glass door and windows, with flyscreens
  • Plumbed room ready for upgrade to wet room
  • Kitchenette
  • All rooms fully insulated
When an amateur astronomer decides to reach for the stars and build his own personal observatory about 50km north of Sydney, he chose Containers First’s shipping container modification team to design, fabricate and install the unique structure.

Starting with a standard 20-foot (6-metre) shipping container, Containers First added an elevated extension to house the telescope and dome, and fabricated many other modifications to create a spacious and comfortable observatory.

The star-gazing structure includes windows, dimmable lighting and a sliding glass door, a large workstation with cabinetry, a kitchenette, storage, interior access to the elevated motorised telescope room, and a wrap-around exterior deck complete with a rainwater gutter system and stylishly finished with bullnose roofing.

To house the precision optical equipment, the Containers First Workshop’s fabrication had to be equally precise for the hinged dome to rotate properly.

  • Full data cabling for telescope
  • Dimmer-controlled down lights throughout
  • Rolled angle to operate observatory dome
  • Squared round roofing for rainwater run-off
  • Interior mezzanine level access to telescope platform
  • Interior storage space
  • Full length veranda with staircase access
  • Lightweight roof truss design for transportability
  • Bull nose roofing and guttering fitted on-site
  • Main room floor carpeting
Containers First also wired the observatory for electrical power and data, and
included a fully plumbed room ready for future use. The observatory is also
fully insulated from floor to ceiling to ensure comfort all year round.

While Containers First were content with the design and manufacture of
this amazing observatory their expertise was truly exposed when they
coordinated the delivery and installation of the observatory. Requiring custom
fabricated supports to perch the containers on the side of a hill, specialised
transport for the 40km journey to the site and lifting equipment all of which
needed to fit through a gap with only millimetres to spare. The installation
was precise, on time and under budget.

Our astronomer couldn’t be happier with the observatory and is counting
his lucky stars he chose Containers First and the “freedom” a modular
shipping container design provided him. Containers First is equally thrilled
with their first-ever observatory design/build and rates it as one of the Sydney
company’s stellar achievements in custom shipping container modifications

1300 556 991


Shipping container case study pdf download
Containers First-case study_observatory_v3.2

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Phone 1300 556 991 or email
23-25 Gould Street | South Strathfield NSW 2136 n F: 02 9642 5008 n ABN: 68 002 196 385