New Antarctic research building breaks ground

4 March 2020
  • Hugh Broughton

Hugh Broughton Architects


Rothera Point

United Kingdom

Hugh Broughton create sustainable facility at Rothera Station

A sustainable building designed by Hugh Broughton Architects has broken ground in Antarctica, at the Rothera Research Station. Situated on a rocky promontory at the southern extremity of Adelaide Island, the station is the largest facility owned by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). A wide range of scientific activity is carried out in and around the station, with the new building planned to help with the organisation’s ongoing climate-related research. 

The new 4500 sq m facility, named The Discovery Building to commemorate the first sighting of Antarctica 200 years ago, includes preparation areas for field expeditions, a central store, a medical facility, offices, recreational spaces, and workshops. The pale blue colour on the outer walls is inspired by the tones of the Antarctic sky, and will minimise the impact of degradation from the area’s high UV levels. A control tower provides 360-degree panoramic views of the runway, wharf and station buildings. 

An early liveability study helped inform the interior, based on feedback from field staff. Open-plan workspaces foster collaboration, with vibrant colours helping to offset the effects of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during the long, dark Antarctic winters. Roof lights introduce natural light into the centre of the building, while transparent glazed screens maintain views between spaces, allowing for monitoring and increasing health and safety for the small crew who maintain the station in winter. 

Minimising the environmental impact of Rothera Research Station is a key part of the vision. The energy-efficient, aerodynamic design is oriented into the prevailing wind. The largest deflector used in Antarctica to date will channel air at higher speeds down the leeward face, minimising snow accumulation around the perimeter. The building envelope is composed of insulated metal panels and triple glazing, creating an airtight and thermally-efficient enclosure.

Hugh Broughton, director at Hugh Broughton Architects, stated: “This cutting-edge facility will support scientists who are investigating the impacts of climate change on our planet as we race to find solutions which will support our future. We are thrilled to be part of a dynamic team working with BAS to deliver the project, which will mark another important step in the development of the architecture of Antarctica.”

Lucy Nordberg
TenderStream Head of Research

This tender was first published by TenderStream on 09.07.2019 here

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