While the massive continent of Antarctica remains one of the most inaccessible places on the face of our planet, human resourcefulness has paved the way for some fascinating structures on this secluded landmass of ice and blizzards. In fact, by virtue of their remoteness, these stations allude to remarkable feats of advanced engineering and low-impact architecture. In that regard, we have decided to showcase some incredible images of five of the state-of-the-art Antarctic buildings (from different countries) that stand out through applications of sheer innovation and progressive technology.
1) British Antarctic Survey’s Halley VI (by Hugh Broughton Architects) –
Making its operational debut in 2013, after 100-years of Captain Scott’s renowned Antarctic expeditions, the British Antarctic Survey’s Halley VI holds the distinction of being the world’s first fully relocatable polar research station. To that end, the station is incredibly positioned on a floating ice shelf! And, beyond its locational attributes, the structure is envisaged as a self-sufficient facility with the wondrous ability to mitigate freezing temperatures of -55 degrees centigrade. These features are complemented on the visual scale with the low-impact, aesthetic nature of the structure that seamlessly blends with the austere environment.
2) Bharathi Antarctic Research Station (by bof Architekten / IMS) –
Constructed from 134 prefab shipping containers, India’s Bharathi Antarctic Research Station comes with self-sustaining features, including heating and cooling systems along with a fresh water treatment mechanism. These are bolstered by an power generating setup that not only produces electricity, but also aids in heating the interiors – with the heat being derived on a residual basis from the excess power. The array of such low-impact systems supports a range user-oriented zones (for 24 people during winter), including – a kitchen and dining room, a library, a fitness room, offices, lounge area and of course the technical spaces like laboratories and storage areas.
3) Princess Elisabeth Antarctica (by International Polar Foundation) –
Boasting of being Antarctica’s first zero-emission building, Belgium’s Princess Elisabeth Antarctica is situated at an altitude of over 1,400 m (4,600 ft). The facility flaunts its aerodynamic stainless steel structure that can withstand high-speed winds and other freezing external elements. As a matter of fact, the building totally eschews the need for an internal heating system, given the impressive insulation capacity of its sturdy yet layered steel shell. These passive architectural component is accompanied by renewable (wind and solar) power systems, water treatment mechanisms and a smart grid layout for efficient circulation patterns.