Antarctic research center

The veteran Polish architect studio Kuryłowicz&Associates revealed their plans for the Henry Arctowski Antarctic Station, an ambitious new combination of a research facility and accommodation for 29 scientists working on King George Island in the Antarctic's South Shetland Archipelago.
7 March, 2019
Financed by the Polish government, the Station is planned as an extension of pre-existing facilities run by the Institute of Biochemistry and Biology of the Polish Academy of Science. The building is due to be opened in 2023.
The sleek, tripartite structure and a golden-colored metal cladding of the center combine close attention to the risks and demands of the extreme weather conditions. The wood-lined interiors and large windows are designed to foster a sense of domesticity in a multi-functional space that will also house a gym, sauna, and greenhouse.

"The design of the station is shaped by a detailed functional program, the extreme environmental conditions of the site and by a modular construction strategy which has been imposed by site access restrictions," explained the Polish architecture studio.

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"The result is a highly efficient tripartite ensemble that provides scientists with research space and a 'home away from home' atmosphere, while the sinuous exterior seeks to capture the mystery of arctic life."

The Henry Arctowski Antarctic Station will be elevated on three meter high steel stilts to reduce its impact on the landscape, but imitate the effect of "an upside-down aircraft wing" to keep it firmly on the ground.

It will be constructed with prefabricated timber panels made of durable copper and aluminium alloy. The material is chosen deliberately to create a golden-colored outer layer designed to resemble "futurist sculptures". It is expected to lose a bit of its initial shininess due to weathering but it will not lose its tone, rust, or need maintenance.

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The entrance to the building will be situated right in the very center, where it will be protected from wind and high levels of snowfall, and lead into a double height social space at the core of the building. Getting deeper to the building an array of work spaces will be found, including a lecture hall and laboratories, as well as more living spaces including private accommodation, a gym and a sauna.

The building will also have a greenhouse, designed by Kuryłowicz&Associates to provide a "familiar environment" for the residents, where they will also be able to grow their own produce.

Image: Dezeen
The interiors of the station will reference traditional nautical design, with wood-lined rooms and furniture designed to create the feeling of warmth. . The extensive use of wood in the design is supposed to have a positive psychological effect on its inhabitants during the long winter nights.

Every room will be complete with large windows to maximize natural light and bring residents panoramic views of the island setting.

The Henry Arctowski Antarctic Station will be powered by series of wind turbines positioned south of the station.

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