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Designs for research station in Antarctic
Regine Debatty, 17 Nov 04

spacstatttion.jpg There is a growing risk that ice on which the UK’s Halley Research Station now sits could break off in the near future. A new station is therefore needed to allow research on global change to continue at the site where the ozone hole was discovered.

Six concept designs for the British Antarctic Survey's new Halley VI research station are now exhibited at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London till January 8, 2005.

The six proposals display various ways of building a self-sufficient station on a floating ice-shelf that must withstand winds of up to 80 knots and temperatures as low as -40°C.

Concepts include space-station-like modular capsules, transportable pods on skis and a building that can "walk" giving the exhibition a futuristic feel. The new station must cause minimal environmental impact on Antarctica’s pristine environment so teams have developed strategies for solar and wind power, water recycling and zero carbon-dioxide emissions
.

Recently, I also heard about a project for the German Antarctic station, Neumayer-III.

It would be autonomous, use solar power and advanced systems for recycling and cleaning water. Structures must be entirely removable after use and not pollute the environment.

What's interesting in that particular project is that the technology used was designed for space and could be adapted elswhere on Earth:
"The fact that space habitats have to support life in hostile environments by relying on leading-edge technology means that the latter can also be a valuable source of innovation for the building sector back on Earth," says Fritz Gampe, from the European Space Agency.

Indeed, the idea of designing a 'SpaceHouse' on Earth was born just after the 1999 earthquake in Izmir, Turkey. The ultra-light composites used onboard spacecraft could come handy to build lightweight structures able to withstand severe earthquakes. An approach contrasting with many contemporary design solutions that employ ever more steel and concrete to withstand the induced forces. As the house would stand on legs, it would be isolated from any movements underneath it as it basically glides on top of the Earth.

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