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The Halley VI Antarctic Research Station designed by British practice Hugh Broughton Architects will be officially opened today. The product of eight years of research and design for extreme climates, the architects claim it is a “laboratory and living accommodation capable of withstanding extreme winter weather, of being raised sufficiently to stay above meters of annual snowfall, and of being relocated inland periodically to avoid being stranded on an iceberg as the floating ice shelf moves towards the sea.”
(Courtesy British Antarctic Survey)
But the project bears an uncanny resemblance to Ron Herron’s 1964 Walking City project and the project’s description is pure Archigram in spirit: “an innovative concept (of) hydraulically elevated ski based modules, ensuring the station can be relocated inland periodically as the ice shelf flows towards the sea. The station combines seven interlinking blue modules used for bedrooms, laboratories, offices and energy plants, with a central two-story red module featuring a double-height light filled social space. Interiors have been specially designed to support crew numbers ranging from 52 in summer to 16 during the three months of total darkness in winter when temperatures at the base drop as low as -56C.”