Any building destined for Antarctica’s frigid frontier has to be really tough so Bof Architekten built India’s massive Bharathi Research Station out of 134 rugged, prefab containers. Restricted by extreme weather conditions and long travel distances, the Hamburg-based design firm wrapped the massive prefabricated building in a special aluminum skin that can withstand powerful winds, below 40 degree Celsius temperatures, blizzards, snow, and unfathomable thermal and mechanical loads.
The Bharathi Research Station traveled 3,231 miles from Germany to Antarctica via Cape Town, which is why the designer opted for prefab construction that can be easily assembled and disassembled – first at the Duisburg test site and then in its final destination. The 6,562 square foot facility weighs 1,000 metric tons and living there is no easy feat. Meteorologists, climatologists, and astrophysicists who spend months at a time inside this building will need all the help they can get to stay sane.
As a result, Bof Architekten gave the aluminum-wrapped container structure extensive glazing on one side to maintain a visual connection with the great white landscape, adding high thermal insulation aluminum panels and insulated glass elements to keep interior temperatures comfortable. Construction is expected to be completed by April this year, when 25 polar researchers will be ready to move in.