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Press Release - Design Competition for new Antarctic Research Station: Announcement of winner - 19 July 2005 at RIBA London

Issue date: 06 Jul 2005
Number: 10/2005

Tension is mounting for three teams of architects and engineers who are competing for the design of the new British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Halley Research Station. The winning team will be announced on Tuesday 19 July.

An exhibition of all three schemes will be on display at RIBA from 19 July-6 August. Preview still and animation images are available here

The Jury Panel and technical advisory team have a difficult choice to select just one from three stunning solutions. Each proposal is designed to withstand Antarctica’s extreme environment. Each scheme is elevated above the ice to avoid burial by snow; and is capable of being relocated inland periodically as the ice shelf flows towards the sea. In addition to the huge engineering and technical challenges posed by building on a floating ice shelf, each team has demonstrated their creative and aesthetic expertise to design a stimulating living and working environment that is safe, comfortable and sensitive to BAS requirements for energy efficiency and protection of Antarctica’s pristine environment.

The three finalists are listed below in alphabetical order with the lead consultant for each team named first:

Buro Happold Ltd/Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands/Garrad Hassan & Partners Ltd/SLR Consulting Ltd/Human Engineering. This team has come up with three robust yet delicate fabric-covered craft that apparently ‘hover’ on legs above the ice. Glowing translucent skin encloses generously-proportioned interiors defined by specially-fabricated walls of integral furniture; these can be reconfigured to create a flexible, stimulating environment for scientific research and a welcoming, low-maintenance home that enhances the science and support team’s wellbeing.

Faber Maunsell and Hugh Broughton’s modular system, elevated on ski-based jackable legs, can be towed across the ice. The modules are simple to construct and can be re-arranged or relocated to suit the changing needs of the science programmes. The space age-looking station will be packed with stimulating areas for recreation and relaxation. It features renewable energy sources and new environmentally contained strategies for fuel, waste and material handling.

Hopkins Architects/Expedition Engineering/Atelier Ten/Davis & Langdon have designed two aerodynamic, elevated ‘walking’ buildings that minimise effort of raising, snow-management and relocation. External walls, surrounded with a ‘puffer jacket’ of structural fabric pillows, streamline the building and provide additional insulation. The team believe the quality of architecture is crucial to the wellbeing, morale and productivity of science and support staff living and working at Halley.

***Operational Note: journalists are invited to the public announcement on Tuesday 19 July at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) 66 Portland Place, London, 11.00-14.00***

ENDS

Issued by the BAS Press Office
Linda Capper – tel: (01223) 221448, mob: 07714 233744, email: L.capper@bas.ac.uk


Notes for Editors:
The site is located 10,000 miles from the UK on a 150 m thick floating ice shelf. The new complex will replace the current Halley V Research Station.

The competition, launched by BAS and RIBA in June 2004, attracted 86 Expressions of Interest. Six of those were selected to submit concept ideas and, in October 2004, three were commissioned by BAS to develop their concepts.

Picture Editors: Movie animations and stills of the three finalists together with stunning stills and broadcast images of Antarctica and the location of the new research station are available from the BAS Press Office.

The Jury Panel:
Professor Chris Rapley CBE, Director, British Antarctic Survey
Mr David Blake MIIE, Head of Technology & Engineering, British Antarctic Survey
Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners
Mr Mike Clift, Associate Director, Building Research Establishment Ltd
Mr Andrew Thorne MEI, Principal Consultant, Building Research Establishment Ltd
Mr Malcolm Reading, RIBA Architectural Advisor, Malcolm Reading & Associates

British Antarctic Survey is a world leader in research into global issues in an Antarctic context. It is the UK’s national operator and is a component of the Natural Environment Research Council. It has an annual budget of around £40 million, runs nine research programmes and operates five research stations, two Royal Research Ships and five aircraft in and around Antarctica. More information about the work of the Survey can be found on this website.

The Royal Institute of British Architects, one of the most influential architectural institutions in the world, has been promoting architecture and architects since being awarded its Royal Charter in 1837. The RIBA has vast experience of organising competitions on behalf of a wide range of clients. The service offered by the RIBA is independent and impartial, bearing no allegiance to a particular design team or method of procurement. The involvement of the RIBA ensures that correct procedures are followed and that the process of selection is seen to be fair. More information can be found at www.ribacompetitions.com