Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Antarctic research base plans cool down

  • Comment
The British Antarctic Survey's (BAS') new research station (pictured above) has been significantly reduced in size after the project went £6 million over budget, the AJ can reveal.

Hugh Broughton Architects - which picked up the commission last July in one of the UK's most high-profile design competitions - has had to remove nearly a third of the scheme's accommodation.

Major complications arose just before Christmas after the brief expanded beyond the reality of the £19 million earmarked for construction.

Now the architect faces a race against time to remove expensive elements from the project, which would replace an existing station ( pictured below) that could jeopardise its chances of securing crucial government funds.

Important parts of the project facing the axe include space that would have protected some of the world's leading Antarctic scientists and technicians from the risk of fire.

Instead of new facilities, old 'refuge space' in one of the world's harshest natural environments will be used to shelter experts for up to three months should disaster strike.

Hugh Broughton, who is working with Faber Maunsell on the project, said: 'We revisited the site and asked ourselves why we were designing millions of pounds of pod we don't necessarily need.'

His team has additionally pared back the level of servicing, finishing and furniture, claiming it is 'more gilded than it needs to be'.

The move comes after a number of problems beset the proposed station after it was announced that Broughton had beaten off competition from Hopkins and Lifschutz Davidson last year.

The BAS had trouble finding a contractor before it settled on Morrison, with whom it had previously collaborated.

Spiralling costs also caused BAS to delay the project by a year, so that it could use an existing research base to accommodate the contractor.

Broughton said: 'It was a reassessment of a once-in-a-lifetime situation without reducing the quality of the science or the living accommodation.

'With all due credit to our competitors, this is something they couldn't have done.'

See Hugh Broughton's Antarctic diary here

by Rob Sharp

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.