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Press Release - Futuristic design wins competition for new Antarctic Research Station

Issue date: 19 Jul 2005
Number: 11/2005

A futuristic design by Faber Maunsell and Hugh Broughton Architects has won the competition for the new British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Halley Research Station. In a very close-run contest, three finalists presented their ideas to a Jury Panel, technical advisory panel and BAS scientists.

Preview images and animations are available on our FTP server

Director of BAS, Professor Chris Rapley, CBE said, ‘This was an incredibly tough choice for the Jury Panel to make. We were presented with three outstanding schemes - each one of them creating an exceptional solution for living and working in this extreme environment. Of course, only one scheme can go through to construction. In my view each team is a winner and I really hope that the runners-up realise how much we value their ideas. This competition was launched to bring innovation and creativity to the challenge of building a scientific research station on a floating ice shelf. The process, which involved a working partnership between each design team and the BAS technical teams, was stimulating and exciting for everyone involved. I extend my warm congratulations to Faber Maunsell and Hugh Broughton Architects on their success at winning this competition.’

The new modular station, elevated on ski-based jackable legs to avoid burial by snow, can be towed across the ice. The modules are simple to construct and can be re-arranged or relocated inland periodically as the ice shelf flows towards the sea. A central module packed with stimulating areas for recreation and relaxation is flanked by a series of modules designed to suit the changing needs of the science programmes. It features renewable energy sources and new environmental strategies for fuel, waste and material handling.

-ENDS-


Notes for editors
An exhibition of all three schemes will be on display at RIBA from 19 July-6 August. Preview images and animations are available on our  FTP server

Further images and interview opportunities are available from the BAS Press Office.

Work on the design & build contract will now begin. The first phase of construction at Halley will commence in January 2007 with handover to British Antarctic Survey in December 2008.

The two other competing teams were:
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.

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.


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

Background Notes:
The new complex, replacing the current Halley V Research Station, is one of the most challenging construction projects on Earth. The present station is located 10,000 miles from the UK on the Brunt Ice Shelf, which is 150m thick and flows at a rate of 0.4 km per year northwest from Coats Land towards the sea where, at irregular intervals, it calves off as vast icebergs. Scientists predict a major calving event around 2010. There is a growing risk that ice on which the existing Halley Research Station sits could break off in the next decade. The new station will allow long-running research on global change to continue at the site where the ozone hole was discovered.

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