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Antarctic return: Hugh Broughton unveils designs for New Zealand’s ice base

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Government agency Antarctica New Zealand has released the first images of Hugh Broughton Architects’ vision for the new Scott Base

The British practice, which completed the Halley VI ice station for the British Antarctic Survey in 2013, is working with New Zealand-based architecture practice Jasmax to redevelop the scientific research hub. 

The New Zealand Government has committed NZ$18.5 million (£9.75 million) for the next phase of the project over the next two years, which means that the detailed design can be completed and procurement can begin. It is intended to start construction during the 2022 Antarctic summer season.

The design proposes that the existing 12-building ice station, built in the early 1980s, is replaced by three large interconnected buildings (one for accommodation, dining and welfare, one for science and management, and one for engineering and storage) and a separate helicopter hangar.

The new base could house 100 people in single and twin-bed rooms, with buildings elevated above the ground to allow wind to pass underneath and reduce snow drift around the base. The curved shape is designed to help wind flow around the buildings.

Hugh Broughton said: ‘The project demonstrates a commitment to scientific discovery of global significance. It will be a beacon of environmental stewardship and will rest modestly in the beautiful Antarctic landscape.

‘We are now looking forward to working with Antarctica New Zealand and their stakeholders as we continue the journey designing and implementing this extraordinary project.’

New Zealand has operated Scott Base since Edmund Hillary established it in 1957 as part of the Trans Antarctic Expedition.

A crew of approximately 15 people run the base in winter, when temperatures drop below -40°C and there is 24 hours of darkness for about four months. They use reverse osmosis to turn sea water into drinking water.

Simon Shelton, Scott Base Redevelopment senior project manager, said: ‘At the moment, we have to mitigate increasing points of failure at Scott Base; the buildings, materials and systems are deteriorating with age.

‘We are looking forward to moving to the next stage of the development process and supporting the Antarctic science community with safe, fit-for-purpose infrastructure.’

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