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FaberMaunsell/Hugh Broughton

Lightweight is FaberMaunsell's watchword.

As well as reducing weight to a minimum to transport materials across the sea ice, lightweight buildings will be easier manoeuvre across the Brunt Ice Shelf.

To this end, the research station will be composed of a number of small semiautonomous accommodation units linked by insulated umbilical cords to a central work unit. Plant will be housed in small external pods. Designs have been vetted for Antarctic conditions by FaberMaunsell's US sister company DMJM, which has designed many of the US research stations.

'These small, lightweight modules form a kit of parts that are very flexible and can be arranged in a number of different ways to suit BAS's changing needs, ' says FaberMaunsell project leader Peter Ayers. 'It's a fleet of foot, flexible model.'

FaberMaunsell is opting to lift structures clear of new snowfall using inflatable airbags and scaffold platforms - an established BAS lifting technique.

Its design for Halley 6 spreads load over a far larger surface area than the other two shortlisted designs, with large numbers of skis. 'We think that bearing capacity of snow is quite low, ' Ayers notes.

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