Star Axis by Charles Ross

Ross’s earthwork, Star Axis, is located in the New Mexico desert. It is both architectonic sculpture and naked eye observatory. The approach to building Star Axis involves gathering a variety of star alignments in different time scales and building them into sculptural form. Walking through its chambers you can see how star space relates to human scale and how the space of the stars reaches down into the earth. Ross conceived of Star Axis in 1971 and began building it in 1976 after a 4-year search through the southwest to find the perfect site—a mesa where one stands at the boundary between earth and sky. He’s now finishing Star Axis with a crew of local stonemasons. It’s made with granite, sandstone, bronze, stainless steel, and earth. When completed, Star Axis will be eleven stories high and a fifth of a mile across.