Following the recent announcement that the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have chosen the winning design for their new research station at Halley, Morrison Ltd have been named as the company selected to build the structure.
The company, which has been working with BAS since 1999, was also involved in selecting the winning design for the new base.
Regional Manager of Morrison (Falklands) Chris Luker explained, "In February 2005, following a competitive assessment, Morrison were appointed as Project Advisors to assist the British Antarctic Survey in assessing the build ability and cost of the three short listed Halley designs.
"The project will be managed by the Morrison (Falklands) Ltd team from their offices in Stanley, Falkland Islands and Matlock, UK. Morrison are very proud to be working with the British Antarctic Survey on this innovative and prestigious project." Mr Luker said, "The initial concept is that on site construction is to begin in the Austral summer 2006/7 and continue during the following season."
The design team for the new base consisted of Faber Maunsell as Consulting Engineers and Hugh Broughton as Architects.
The Halley competition attracted 86 entries and was launched in June by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Faber Maunsell's concept was one of three winning designs for the new station, picked from six short-listed teams and announced on 24th November at the Halley VI Design Exhibition at the RIBA.
Located 10,000 miles from the UK on a 150 m thick floating ice shelf, the new complex, replacing the current Halley V Research Station, will be self-sufficient, re-locatable, and able to withstand freezing winter temperatures of around -50degreesC and have minimal impact on Antarctica's pristine environment.
The Faber Maunsell design is based on a modular kit of parts that can adapt to the changing external conditions and future science needs. Grouped around a central "living module", the accommodation, workspace and energy pods form an integrated research facility designed to deal with the extreme conditions on the Brunt Ice Shelf. Each module will be highly insulated and incorporate low energy and sustainable principles to help reduce the station's environmental impact.
The new station will introduce renewable energy to Halley for the first time. Evacuated tube solar/thermal collectors have been incorporated on the two energy modules to augment the hot water heating during the summer months taking advantage of 24hr daylight.
The facility will include high efficiency combined heat and power generators fuelled with AVTUR diesel suitable for operation in extreme low temperatures. The services infrastructure allows for the introduction of photovoltaics (PV) and wind turbine energy generation in the future.
The building modules are raised on legs clear of the ground and are designed to be relocated to deal with the 1.5m per year snow accumulation and the ice shelf's inexorable movement towards the ocean. The legs are founded on specially developed skis which enable prefabricated modules to be towed to the site from the edge of the sea ice to minimise the on site construction period. The skis are designed to be man-handleable and interchangeable to allow for future flexibility and mobility. The concept was described by the judging panel as "a strong architectural design.
The modular approach enables units to be linked together to form a station that can accommodate user requirements and be easily relocated."
The RIBA is staging an exhibition featuring the leading entrants at its HQ in Portland Place, London.
Work on the design and build contract for Halley VI will now begin. The first phase of construction will commence in January 2007 with handover to the British Antarctic Survey in December.
All the materials for the Halley VI research station will have to be shipped 16,000km from the UK and assembled on site during the two months of Antarctic "summer".
The existing Halley base - the fifth to occupy the spot since 1956 - has been a tremendous success. It, too, has been jacked up on extendable legs to keep it above an accumulated snowfall of 1.5m (5ft) a year (the previous four bases were all buried). (PN-MP)