This next construction oddity comes to us thanks to the BLDGBLOG

Unless you’re in the construction industry, your experience with remedying wobble in a structure is probably sliding a sugar packet under the foot of a diner table. For a structure to wobble is not only annoying but can be perpetually dangerous — making it a characteristic that construction specialties attempt to remedy at all costs. While this is typically the case, there was a series of buildings designed to wobbled intentionally. You’re probably wondering, “Why on earth would anyone do this?” What may help this question make sense is where on earth these structures would be.

The Gaithersburg Latitude Observatory

In 1899, as a part of a series of similarity designed structures, the Gaithersburg Latitude Observatory was designed. Each of these structures were to be placed at precisely the same latitude, creating a ring around the planet. These structures used a specific star in order to synchronize their locations and then, thanks to a gyroscope-like structural design, the buildings could gauge the earth’s natural “wobble” — collaborating data to learn more about the planet. For example, the Gaithersburg Latitude Observatory shared a latitude with a similar facility in Japan. Using the unique structural design, onsite equipment, and celestial constants, the facilities were able to collect a sizeable amount of information about the natural “wobble” of the planet.

An Unassuming Structure

The Gaithersburg Latitude Observatory was designed, from its opening roof that revealed a state-of-the-art telescope to its subterranean foundation designed to monitor the planet’s latitudinal “wobble”, to essentially be a piece of scientific equipment. For this high tech structural and interior design, the exterior of the observatory was unassuming, to say the least. When the roof was closed and windows closed, the observatory looked little more like an ordinary small cottage. Little would onlookers know that this seemingly simple structure would make breaking discoveries about the nature of the very planet it called home.


[Image: A photo of the Gaithersburg Latitude Observatory, via NOAA].