15 November, 2004

Six concept designs, from teams short-listed in an international design competition to build a new research station in Antarctica, are unveiled today (Monday 15 November) at an exhibition at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London.

The design solutions are the first visuals for the British Antarctic Survey’s new Halley VI research station – located in one of the Earth’s most extreme environments. Selected from 86 entries around the world, the six teams have created designs displaying ingenious ways of building a station on a floating ice-shelf that must withstand winds of up to 80 knots and temperatures as low as -40ºC. 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 to Antarctica so teams have developed strategies for solar and wind power, water recycling and zero carbon-dioxide emissions.

BAS Director, Professor Chris Rapley CBE says,

This design of the new Halley VI research station presents enormous challenges. The design concepts are exceptional, showing a great deal of ingenuity, not only on the functional and technological detail but also on the living and working environment the new station will provide for the people who live there.

Three winning design teams will be announced on 24 November 2004 and will go though to the next stage, which includes a site visit to Antarctica in January 2005. The winning design will be announced in September 2005.

Notes for Editors:

The Halley VI Design Exhibition is in Gallery 2, Royal Institute of British Architects, 66 Portland Place, London from 15 November 2004 – 8 January 2005.

Picture Editors: High-resolution stills of the concept designs are available from the BAS Press Office. Stunning stills and broadcast images of Antarctica and the location of the new research station are also available.

Background Notes: The new complex, replacing the current Halley V Research Station, will be located 10,000 miles from the UK 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.

The six short-listed teams are:

Buro Happold Ltd / Lifschutz Davidson / Garrad Hassan & Partners Ltd / SLR Consulting Ltd / Human Engineering Ian Liddell of the innovative engineers, Buro Happold, and Alex Lifschutz of the architects Liftschutz Davidson, leads this team. They are supported by a number of specialist consultants for addressing human factors, wind power and waste. Among the projects they have been involved with are the new Arsenal Stadium, the Glasgow Science Tower, the Cardboard School Building at Westborough, the Golden Jubilee Bridges alongside Hungerford Bridge and the Coin Street Housing project. Their focus is on intelligent science-based design with minimum environmental impact.

FaberMaunsell Ltd / Hugh Broughton Architects Ltd FaberMaunsell is part of the worldwide AECOM Technology Corporation, which has been responsible for the construction of more facilities in Antarctica than any other company in the world. Projects have included the South Pole Observatory and the South Pole Station Dormitory. The multi-disciplinary engineering team is led from FaberMaunsell’s UK headquarters in St. Albans, but draws on worldwide specialist cold climate and remote location expertise. Architectural design has been provided by the dynamic young practice of Hugh Broughton Architects.

Francis Design Ltd / Ove Arup & Partners International Ltd BMT Nigel & Associates Ltd / Gardiner & Theobald LLP Francis Design Ltd is a multidisciplinary design practice, with projects ranging from marine design to interior architecture and engineering. They create boats from conception through to delivery for worldwide operation, providing self-sufficient and self-sustaining machines for living and working in. BMT Nigel Gee & Associates Ltd reinforce this with their background in commercial fast ferry design and extensive knowledge of high tech composite materials. The team is complemented by Ove Arup & Partners with their acknowledged experience in advanced structures having worked on projects such as the Beddington ZED, which pioneers zero fossil fuel development and British Antarctic Survey’s Halley V Research Station. Gardiner & Theobald tie the team together by providing the vital aspect of project management, cost management and logistics, which they have demonstrated on numerous projects including the building of the Falkland Islands Mount Pleasant Airfield where all materials and works were sourced in the UK.

Hopkins Architects Ltd / Expedition Engineers Ltd / DLE / HL Technik / Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin Hopkins Architects, Expedition Engineering, HL Technik, RWDI and DLE comprise a team that combines a proven track record of realising pioneering projects through creative thought, with an international range of experience in working in some of the world’s most challenging environments. They share a commitment to the environmentally responsible and socially responsive use of technology for the good of mankind. Hopkins Architects are renowned as innovators and leaders in the fields of prefabrication, lightweight construction and sustainability. Their projects range from the Patera Building to the RIBA Sustainability Award winning Jubilee Campus at the University of Nottingham. Expedition Engineers have been actively involved in a diverse range of projects including the skeleton of the World’s Green Highrise (Commerzbank Frankfurt), water management systems at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 and close proximity projects such as an oak submarine and a human-powered airship. Hopkins Architects and Expedition Engineering have collaborated on a number of cutting-edge environmentally driven projects, which include their proposals for an offshore residential tower in the Middle East featured in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition last year.

Make Places Ltd / The Design Laboratory / Ove Arup & Partners International Ltd / Archicafe / DLE Make is headed by world renowned architect Ken Shuttleworth who recently departed from Foster and Partners where he was responsible for landmarks around the world including the Swiss Re HQ, London City Hall and Chek Lap Kok Airport in Hong Kong. make is currently involved in creating the Vortex Tower in London. Arup practices in over 30 countries worldwide collaborating with international esteemed architects. Arup’s engineering portfolio includes: 2008 Olympic stadium in Beijing, Heathrow’s Terminal 5 and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link in the UK. The Design Laboratory at Central Saint Martins led by Brent Richards functions as a leading creative consultancy and employs an overall team of 30 multi-talented international Project Designers. Recent projects have included short-listing for the RIBA Future House London Competition and a major project with Isozaki Architects in Spain.

Richard Rogers Partnership / Ove Arup & Partners International Ltd / BDSP Partnership Ltd Richard Rogers Partnership has a high-profile history of innovative design including projects like the Pompidou Centre, Lloyds of London, the Millennium Dome and the Bordeaux Law Courts. RRP see the Halley VI competition as a means of exploring some of the practice’s core values going back to such projects as the Zip-Up House (1969) and continuing an on-going process of first-principle environmental analysis. With Arup, key members of the design team have recently been involved in the technical challenges raised by the New Heathrow Air Traffic Control Tower project (recently completing a 900-tonne move of part of the Tower across the southern runway). Successful collaboration with BDSP on a number of benchmark projects dates back many years and currently includes the Welsh Assembly Building, the Protos Winery and Mossbourne Academy in Hackney.

British Antarctic Survey is a world leader in research into global issues in an Antarctic context. It is the UK’s national operator and is a component of the Natural Environment Research Council. It has an annual budget of around ?40 million, runs nine research programmes and operates five research stations, two Royal Research Ships and five aircraft in and around Antarctica. More information about the work of the Survey can be found at: www.antarctica.ac.uk

The Royal Institute of British Architects, one of the most influential architectural institutions in the world, has been promoting architecture and architects since being awarded its Royal Charter in 1837. The RIBA has vast experience of organising competitions on behalf of a wide range of clients. The service offered by the RIBA is independent and impartial, bearing no allegiance to a particular design team or method of procurement. The involvement of the RIBA ensures that correct procedures are followed and that the process of selection is seen to be fair. More information can be found at www.ribacompetitions.com