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Faber Maunsell and Hugh Broughton win comp to take on Antarctic

Faber Maunsell and Hugh Broughton Architects have beaten some of the top names in British architecture with this competition-winning design for the new Antarctic Research Station.

Following a 'close-run' contest, the team saw off shortlisted entries from Buro Happold with Lifschutz Davidson, and Hopkins Architects with Expedition Engineering, to scoop the top prize.

The Halley VI competition was launched in June 2004 in a bid to find a replacement for the existing research station, which is in danger of floating off on an iceberg.

Organised by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and RIBA, the contest attracted almost 90 entries - six of which were then picked to submit concept ideas.

In October 2004, BAS commissioned three of the multidisciplinary design teams to further develop their ideas.

The winning scheme features simply constructed modules, raised from the ground by ski-based 'jackable' legs that can be easily rearranged so the station can be relocated inland as the ice shelf flows seaward.

The design includes renewable energy sources and new environmental strategies for waste, fuel, and material handling. The modules will be able to withstand sub zero temperatures, which can drop to minus 40 degrees, and will be fully self-sufficient.

Professor Chris Rapley, CBE, director of BAS, said: 'This was an incredibly tough choice for the Jury Panel to make. We were presented with three outstanding schemes - each of them creating an exceptional solution for living and working in this extreme environment.'

The first phase of construction is scheduled for January 2007 and the completed base will be handed over to the BAS in December 2008.

by Rose Green

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