Gemma Observatory

VM Building Solutions USA

The list of award-winning projects to utilize VMZINC®, the international brand name of rolled zinc products, is ever-growing. One of the latest additions is The Gemma Observatory, designed by Anmahian Winton Architects. A private astronomical observatory located on a rugged hillside in southern New Hampshire, the project has won multiple industry awards, including most recently, the award for Overall Excellence at the 2017 Metal Construction Association’s prestigious Chairman Awards.

The 1,200 SF structure eschewed the traditional domed shape of other observatories in favor of an angular design reflective of the surrounding landscape. The site is characterized by granite bedrock outcroppings and the resulting structure, clad in custom weathered-grey QUARTZ-ZINC® panels, blends seamlessly into the natural setting. The unique geometric angles of the building and the remoteness of the site posed design challenges that were best met by using architectural zinc panels.

“We chose custom VMZ Flat lock panels for this project for a number of important reasons, not least of which were their overall aesthetics and their ability to conform to the geometry of the project,” said Alex Anmahian, principal in charge of this project. “By far the most important quality of the zinc panels, however, is their ability to dissipate the heat of the day after sunset, thereby eliminating nighttime air distortion that would compromise the entire purpose of the building. Zinc was the perfect cladding to provide this feature and VMZ Flat lock panels provided the best solution for this project.”

The unconventional pattern of lock-seamed zinc cladding mediates between the irregular site topography and the building’s geometry. The construction process included close collaboration between the architect and the metal fabricator/installer, Crocker Architectural, to maximize efficiency of detailing, manufacture, and installation, resulting in the zinc exterior being fabricated directly from full scale architectural/shop drawings.

Other honors bestowed upon the project include the 2017 American Architecture Award from the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design, and the Award for Design Excellence at the 2017 Boston Society of Architects Design Awards Gala.

VMZINC Flat lock panels are ICC certified and are fully compliant to the latest codes and standards.

Photo 2 by Gilbertson Photography
All others courtesy of the Metal Construction Association


VMZINC_logoVMZINC® is the international brand name of rolled zinc products manufactured and sold VM Building Solutions USA. For additional information, visit

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