'This building needs to move up and across the ice, ' says Expedition's project engineer Ed McCann. 'You can treat it two ways - as an animal that walks away from danger, or as a plant that is reliant on a gardener to move it.
This building is an animal.'
Expedition's Halley 6 will sit on four to six pairs of legs with large, spreading feet which will work synchronically to lift and 'walk' the building to new locations.
Each leg can be extended and retracted by its own hydraulic jack. And one leg in each pair can be moved forward or backward along a rail by a third jack. To raise Halley 6, snow will be packed under each foot until all feet have been brought up to surface level. 'It'll then move forward like someone using a zimmer frame, ' McCann explains.
The building itself is modular - McCann envisages the 80-100 components needed for each building being prefabricated in New Zealand before shipping to Antarctica.
Structural strength will come from a central longitudinal truss and robust external, clip-together cladding panels, creating loadbearing 'strong walls' capable of spanning between legs.
The external surface is minimised to keep heat loss through the building's skin low, and the whole will be clad in a triple layer ETFE cushion, giving Halley 6 its very own puffa jacket.