Who was the architect of Uraniborg and Stjerneborg?

Those were two observatories used by Tycho Brahe on the island Hven in the 16th century.

Thank you.

1 Answer 1


It is strange to observe that the links to Wikipedia in questions contain text that merely says 'Brahe built it', when other pages give hints to the builder like this:

[…] Hans only worked on Kronborg for around a year before he, with royal permission, went on the island of Hven to work for the distinguished astronomer Tycho Brahe, who had for life been granted the island by the King as well as funds for the construction of a house and observatory on the premises. Hans van Steenwinckel probably worked both on Uraniborg and the subsequent Stjerneborg observatory […]

Wikipedia: "Hans van Steenwinckel the Elder"

Why Wikipedia is so cautious for both buildings seems unclear, as the Dansk biografisk lexikon entry for him seems to confirm this.

Tycho brought Steenwinkel to Hven, instructed him in astro- nomy and geometry, and put him to work building Uraniborg. Their talents were complementary. Tycho expained the complex symmetrical plan of the building and grounds. Steenwinkel was a clever draftsman, skilled at sketching designs in the Renaissance style for portals, windows, spires, domes, and other architectural elements. He quickly learned the more theoretical aspects of architecture as well. Before long, Tycho began to refer to him as "my architect."

— Victor E. Thoren: "The Lord Of Uraniborg. A Biography of Tycho Brahe", Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, New York, 1990. (p133)

  • 1
    Francis Beckett, Uraniborg og Stjærneborg, Copenhagen: Aage Marcus & London: Oxford University Press 1921, p. 11 (my bolding): " Tyge Brahe staar sikkert selv bag den geometriske Plan i det hele Uraniborg-Anlæg. [...] Men ved Opførelsen af Uraniborg og til Udførelsen af Anlægget udenom Slottet har han utvivlsomt haft Bygmesterhjælp. [...]. Det skyldte han ogsaa simple praktiske og techniske Hensyn. Han omtaler da ogsaa flere Gange sin Arkitekt, et Par Gange er hans Navn nævnt. Det var Hans van Stenwinkel. "
    – njuffa
    Commented Sep 6, 2022 at 18:39
  • The same book states that Stenwinkel was likely Brahe's second architect. On p. 37: " As the island of Hveen, which Tycho held in fief for life, was royal estate, [...] it is a priori most likely that it was the royal master builder who became Tycho Brahe's architect. [...] The name of the royal master builder was Hans van Paschen, a Dutchman by birth as indicated by the name. [...] His second architect was Hans van Stenwinkel, born about 1550 in Antwerp. "
    – njuffa
    Commented Sep 6, 2022 at 18:54

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