Building a research station in areas such as Antarctica isn’t as easy as building it somewhere not as hostile. Researchers estimate that Antarctic ice sheets move towards the ocean at a rate of about 400 meters each year and the quickly accumulating ice cover mean that any permanent facility built here will have a maximum lifespan of just 10 years. As a solution to these problems Hugh Broughton Architects have developed an eco friendly research facility that counters the hostile Antarctic environment with hydraulic retractable legs and giant skis.
Dubbed the Halley VI Antarctic Research Station, the facility will open tomorrow and has been established by the British Antarctic Survey. The structure includes eight interconnected modules, each of which includes retractable legs that will allow the structure to clear the rising ground each year and to counter the movement issue, the structure comes with giant skis allowing the entire structure to be moved using a bulldozer to a new location.
Standing in line like a desert caravan, the structures rest perpendicular to the direction of wind, which helps clear the snow underneath. Living accommodations and laboratories are clad in blue glass-reinforced plastic, are positioned on either side of the main module that is clad in red. The red-colored module comes a social space, critical for the survival of the 50 scientists, who stay in the station. The interior spaces are designed in a way to protect the scientists for stress and depression, something which can happen when living in brutal winter conditions of permanent darkness.
The developers claim that the Halley VI is the most environmentally friendly ever built by the BAS. The structure has very low environmental impact during construction and has an extremely efficient environmentally aware performance life cycle. Moreover, the structure can easily be moved and eventually taken apart when the time comes.