The Halley VI Antarctic Research Station, the first fully-relocatable research station, was designed by Hugh Broughton Architects with AECOM for British Antarctic Survey (BAS). The station’s predecessor, Halley V, had drifted too far from mainland and became endangered of calving with an iceberg. BAS organized an international competition in 2004 to select designers for Halley VI, and a modular design was conceived by the winners, HBA.
According to information provided by the architects, the modules are supported on giant steel skis and hydraulically driven legs. The legs allow the station to rise up out of the snow to avoid being buried, and as the ice shelf moves out towards the ocean, the modules can be lowered onto the skis and towed to a new, safer location further inland.
A research station has been occupied continuously at Halley since 1957 and in 1985 scientists working there first observed the springtime depletion in stratospheric ozone, known as the hole in the ozone layer. The station is located on the 500-foot thick Brunt Ice Shelf, which is flowing at 1,300 feet each year out to sea. The Halley VI station has an internal floor area of about 16,000 square feet and contains medical operating facilities, air traffic control systems, energy generation and full human support facilities. It is a self-supporting, infrastructure-free community.
The dining area in the central module has timber veneer walls which give off natural scents, intended to remind the station’s residents of nature, living in an environment without plants.
The meteorological observatory, on the upper level of the science module.
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The station’s bar sits next to a natural-light atrium, with a billiard table visible in the background.
A spiral staircase sits at the heart of the central module.
The TV and meeting room feature a cockpit window on the upper level of the central module. Both the station’s exterior and interior design reimagine living and working conditions as well as sustainability in the polar regions which are home to some of the most significant scientific research conducted on the planet.
This feature is adopted from Bloomberg