Location: King George Island, Antarctica.
Architect: Kuryłowicz & Associates.
The new main building of the ‘Henry Arctowski’ Antarctic Station is to be located on Admiralty Bay, on the southern part of the island of King George in the South Shetland Archipelago. The design of the station is shaped by a detailed functional program, the extreme environmental conditions of the site, and by a modular construction strategy. The result is a highly efficient tripartite ensemble which provides scientists with rational research space as well as a ‘home away from home’ atmosphere. The building’s exterior envelope seeks to capture the mystery of arctic life and articulate the thrill of exploration for its visitors. The building will have private living quarters, guest rooms, storage, lecture space, laboratories, flexible spaces for work, research, and leisure, intimate private niches, exercise rooms, and a sauna, as well as places to gather and share a cup of tea. The versatile internal program was further enriched by the addition of a greenhouse which provides a garden retreat, a space for people to gather, to work with their hands and enjoy the familiar qualities of nature, sheltered from arctic conditions. The station is elevated 3m over the landscape resembling an elegant floating vessel when viewed from the sea. The entrance has been situated in a central location, where it is protected from wind and high levels of snowfall. While wind turbines have been located south of the station as a potential source of renewable energy, the building itself is orientated to reduce the impact of wind blowing from three main directions. The project has undergone wind and snow analysis using 3d printed models. The station’s shell is made from prefabricated panels of timber, layers of acoustic and thermal insulation and is finished in a robust skin of copper/aluminum alloy sheets which is resistant to wind, high-speed projectiles and sea breeze corrosion, allowing easy maintenance and achieving a desired gold/brass aesthetic reminiscent of futurist sculpture. The modules will be pre-assembled in Poland, then transported to the island in parts via sea containers and then will be put together by a construction crew without the use of heavy equipment. Scientists at the station will focus on research in the fields of oceanography, geology, geomorphology, glaciology, meteorology, seismology, biology, and ecology. The crew also participates in events that promote Antarctic research and will share data and discoveries with the public through regular internet and radio broadcasts.