Halley VI Antarctic Research Station

CompanyHugh Broughton Architects
ClientHugh Broughton
Prize1st Place in Architecture Categories / Institutional
Entry Description

Halley is the UK’s most southerly research station at 75ºS and 27ºW and is located on the 150-metre thick floating Brunt Ice Shelf, which moves 400 metres per annum towards the sea. Snow levels rise by 1 metre every year, and the sun does not rise for 105 days during winter. Temperatures drop to -56ºC and winds blow in excess of 100mph. Access by ship and plane is limited to a 3-month summer window. All components for the new base had to be delivered across fragile sea ice, which can fracture at any time. The international competition winning design was developed in response to the science, the comfort of residents, buildability, the climate and snow drifting predictions. To meet these demands it was crucial to maximise flexibility. This was achieved with a modular approach. Highly insulated steel framed GRP clad modules are used for a wide variety of activities ranging from laboratories and bedrooms to recreation areas and energy centres. The red module provides the social heart of the new station. Interior design was developed to help support the 16 person crew through the long dark winters. To avoid the fate of previous abandoned stations, the modules are supported on giant steel skis and hydraulically driven legs that allow the station to mechanically ‘climb’ up out of the snow every year. And as the ice shelf moves out towards the ocean, the modules can be lowered and towed by bulldozers further inland, and eventually taken apart when the time comes. Halley VI is a visitor to Antarctica, not a resident.