Juan Carlos I Antarctic StationEdit profile
Spain has been operating a summer only research station on Livingstone Island in Antarctica since 1988. The buildings on the site have now reached the end of their useful lives. An international competition was therefore organised for the redesign of the base. Hugh Broughton Architects were selected as winners with a dynamic design, which draws upon the firm’s unparalleled expertise working in extreme environments.
Livingstone Island is the second largest island in the South Shetland Islands archipelago, to the north west of the Antarctic Peninsula. In winter temperatures drop to around -25 C and in summer rise to an average 2 C, when the majority of snow on site melts. Strong winds buffet the station, regularly exceeding 160 Km/h. Logistics are managed through Ushuaia in Argentina and Punta Arenas in Chile, both of which are 4 days sailing away. The base currently provides accommodation for a maximum of 20 people and is constructed using containerised and modular igloo accommodation.
The new base will comprise a habitat module, separate science module and a series of support modules for services and storage. The habitat building comprises three wings of accommodation arranged around a central core while the science building is a separate structure far enough away to provide a refuge in case of a major fire within the habitat. The habitat will provide sleeping accommodation for 24 people, with the option to increase the population to 48 in the future. The orientation of the buildings makes best use of the site topography, with windows framing wonderful views of the surrounding land and seascapes.
The habitat and science buildings comprise modular fibre reinforced plastic monocoque rings supported on legs, with ancillary space suspended below. A monocoque structure combines the inherent strength of fibre reinforced plastics with the natural strength of a tubular geometry so that steel structure is not needed. This simplifies delivery of materials, construction and detailing.
The contemporary interior will be packed with areas for recreation and relaxation within a comfortable, uplifting environment designed to sustain both the community and the individual alike. Walls will be fabricated in cassette form to ease construction. All services will be easily accessible. Rooflights and glazed entrance areas will maximise daylight, reducing energy consumption and allowing the crew to continually engage with their surroundings.
The design aims to limit the station’s environmental impact while making best use of renewable energy. Solar and wind generated energy are already in use at Juan Carlos 1 to power scientific equipment during the winter months, when the station is unoccupied. The new designs will extend this power source to allow for expansion of science programmes and utilisation of renewable energy within the accommodation.
description by architects