Spaciotempo reaches Antartica

By January 1, 2010Industrial

The construction of a new research complex, at the British Antarctic Survey’s Halley Station in the Antarctic, replacing the current Halley V Research Station, is one of the most challenging construction projects on Earth. The present station is 400 miles from the South Pole on the Brunt Ice Shelf, which is 150m thick and flows at a rate of 0.4 km per year northwest from Coats Land towards the sea where, at irregular intervals, it calves off as vast icebergs. Scientists predict a major calving event around 2010. There is a growing risk that ice on which the existing Halley Research Station sits could break off in the next decade. The new station will allow long-running research on global change to continue at the site where the ozone hole was discovered.

Designed by Faber Maunsell and Hugh Broughton Architects, the new £22 million station will be built by Matlock-based Morrison Construction over the next three years, with work taking place during the ‘summer’ months (December-March) to take advantage of 24-hour daylight. The 60-man construction team will work around the clock shifts in temperatures ranging from zero to –25C.
Morrison Construction required a temporary storage and workshop facility that could easily be shipped to the Antarctic and withstand the extreme conditions.

The 200sqm aluminium framed facility is complete with steel reinforced UPVC cavity walling, PVC roof and reinforced roller shutter doors to withstand the high winds.
In addition to the building itself, Spaciotempo provided specialist training to members of the construction team to allow them to erect the unit on arrival in the Antarctic.

The flat pack temporary facility from Spaciotempo will be the first item unpacked and installed on arrival, to provide protection in the extreme conditions, as the construction team go about the task offloading approximately 15,000 cubic metres of cargo. The building will allow work to be carried out away from the elements, and without disruption, should conditions worsen. The unit will also double as a rest area and canteen for the engineers.