Original Plans

Ritchie Observatory Elevation 2The Plans for the Observatory at the Helix 

We have created

– an observatory

– a meeting and lecture hall

– a teaching facility

– a workshop

– a library


Ritchie Observatory Section B

In 1994 the Bainbridge Island Park & Recreation District made possible the use of the Helix House as an astronomical observatory for the BPAA.

This very strong structure, 38 ft. x 26 ft. and 35 ft high, now is a first-class facility.












So, let’s walk through the plans — as seen in the drawings on this page.

Ritchie Observatory First Floor Plan


The Ground Floor

The wide entrance opens onto a Foyer with a small Administrative Office to the left. Straight ahead is the floor to roof Workroom. In the corner of this room is the 4 feet square floor-to-roof steel reinforced pillar to support the large main telescope on the roof.The door to the right of the foyer leads to the large Meeting Room – large enough to accommodate 40 or so people for lectures.

In the corner of the meeting room is the helical stairs leading up to the large Meeting Room — large enough to accomodate a portable planetarium and 40 or so people for lectures.


Ritchie Observatory Second Floor PlanThe Communications & Control Center will include the computer hub, visual aids and machines, mechanical and electronic equipment for viewing and observing images. Images can be received and transmitted worldwide.

The storeroom is directly over the workshop, and is connected by a traditional staircase.

The helical staircase continues to the roof and the telescope platform.Ritchie Observatory Section A


These plans by architect John H. Rudolph are innovative, functional and affordable to allow BPAA a first-class observatory. It is one of a kind in the Northwest.

Generous contributions for construction, both financial and in-kind, have made and continue to make possible this dream on Bainbridge Island — an educational facility for young and old.