British engineering innovation was celebrated last week at the official opening of Halley VI - the world’s first purpose built relocatable research facility.
The new British Antarctic Survey (BAS) research station was designed by Hugh Broughton Architects with Aecoma and built by Galliford Try for £25.8M over four Antarctic summers, with each build season lasting nine weeks. Science minister David Willetts said the station was “a triumph of British design, innovation and engineering”.
The challenge was to create laboratory and living accommodation capable of withstanding extreme winters. It had to be able to lift itself to stay above metres of annual snowfall, and had to be relocatable inland so it is not stranded on broken ice shelf. The solution was to use hydraulically-elevated ski-based modules - a world first. Halley VI combines seven interlinking blue modules used for bedrooms, laboratories, offices and energy plants, with a central two-storey red module featuring a social space.