Estudio 41 won an international competition to design the new Comandante Ferraz Antarctic Station with a striking clean-powered building that can withstand average temperatures of −70°F. Made from durable steel that requires very little maintenance and propped up on adjustable columns, the modular structure consists of a series of blocks that serve different functions. If built on Keller Peninsula, the 3,200 square meter scientific observation and research station will be powered by both wind and solar energy with ethanol as a backup in case of insufficient sun or wind.
A symbol of Brazil’s contribution to science and design, Estudio 41’s concept proposal was carefully constructed to ensure a protective shell that would preserve not only the fragile humans living in this extreme but majestic environment, but also the landscape itself and the wildlife that call it home. As such, a prefabricated structure that can be easily transported and erected was essential, and the material choices reflect a concern for ecological sensitivity and durability.
Propped up on flexible columns that can adjust to the topography in the event of thawing or other variables, the Comandante Ferraz Antarctic Station is built for resilience. Eating and living spaces are arranged on the upper story while the lower level is devoted to laboratories, operations and maintenance functions. A transversal block hosts social areas, a library and living room – all of which offer some reprieve from the long hours of isolation in this remote landscape.
Exceptionally well insulated to prevent thermal loss, the building covers the majority of its projected 300kW energy demand with solar and wind energy, though the radiation plates, heat recovery system, and insulation help to slash consumption (modeled with EnergyPlus software) by an impressive 45 percent. Also included in the design is a sophisticated water conservation system that reuses wastewater and treats grey water. In addition to creating a safe and comfortable working environment for Brazilian researchers working at the station, the design also meets high aesthetic qualities.
Via Arch Daily
Images via Estudio 41