In commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the first sighting of Antarctica by the British naval officer Edward Bransfield on this date in 1820, a new building to facilitate the British Antarctic Survey’s (BAS) ongoing climate related research in Antarctica breaks ground at its largest facility, Rothera Research Station.
The project is being delivered by the Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Partnership, which includes construction partner BAM and the team, Hugh Broughton Architects and design consultants Sweco, with Ramboll acting as BAS’s Technical Advisers, with the team NORR architects and Turner & Townsend.
Commissioned by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), this long-term programme will enable a world-leading capability to ensure that Britain remains at the forefront of climate, biodiversity and ocean research in the polar regions.
The new operations building, named The Discovery Building to commemorate the discovery of Antarctica 200 years ago, is being delivered as part of the Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation (AIM) Programme to update and restore infrastructure at Rothera so that it remains cost effective and safe. The new facility will consolidate and rationalise the estate, replacing a series of buildings spread across the site which are outdated or costly to maintain.
The two-storey 4,500m² building will accommodate preparation areas for field expeditions, a central store, medical facility, offices, recreational spaces, workshops and areas for plant. The programme of renovation commenced in 2018 with the construction of a new enlarged wharf and improvements to station infrastructure. The Discovery Building will be under construction until 2023. All materials required to build the facility will be delivered by ship in containers and erected to a carefully managed programme which ensures the building can meet precise seasonal milestones.
Minimising the environmental impact of Rothera Research Station is a key part of BAS’s vision for the site. The use of a bespoke BREEAM accreditation and assessment system, developed by Ramboll in collaboration with the Building Research Establishment (BRE) to suit the special Antarctic setting, helps to ensure that the highest environmental standards are met.