Architecture for the South

29 Jul 2005

A string of buildings reminiscent of a caterpillar on skis has won a design competition for the new Halley VI science station in Antarctica.

The British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge held a contest for eco-friendly designs that could withstand the extreme conditions at the Waddell Sea: 145-kilometer-per-hour winds, an average temperature of -30ºC, and three sunless months a year. The new station also had to be mobile to avoid the fate of the existing one, which is on an ice shelf that is moving toward the sea at about 400 meters a year and that may calve off in the next decade.

The winner, from Faber Maunsell and Hugh Broughton Architects, features two wings joined by a large recreational center. Amenities include a climbing wall, hydroponics for growing salad greens, panoramic windows, and quarters for 52 people. The modules are easy to reconfigure, the designers say, and the interior has “strong, cheerful colors carefully selected with the help of a color psychologist” to keep away the polar blues. The retractable legs can step up to stay on top of new-fallen snow and are fitted with skis so the station can be towed away from the sea.

Construction on the new station, designed to last 20 years, should start in January 2007.

© 2009 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.


books I've read on failure & grace

The World Without Us
The Last Oil Shock: A Survival Guide to the Imminent Extinction of Petroleum Man
A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster
Hell and High Water: Global Warming--the Solution and the Politics--and What We Should Do
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
The Tipping Point
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time
The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilization
Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail
The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850
Confessions of an Eco-Sinner: Tracking Down the Sources of My Stuff
Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World

Mason's favorite books »