Polar Ants: Arctic Research Facility

Check out this sweet project from the DRL at the AA.  Designed as a changing environment within the ice cap, this research space would house over 200 people.  The team proposes that the space could be self-regulating, self-contained and autonomous.  The idea of living in the ice like that just makes us cold.

STUDENTS: Lukasz Szlachcic, Anais Mikaelian, Laila Selim, Bita Mohamadi
SCHOOL: The Architecture Association, Design Research Lab
CLASS: AA DRL ProtoDesign Thesis
PROFESSOR: Theodore Spyropoulos
YEAR: 2011-2012

“This project therefore proposes a living architecture, and challenges the classical modernist notions of permanence and stability. The theme of this proposal necessitates an equally responsive environment. as such, the project is located on the ice cap of the arctic ocean; an environment which exhibits harsh climatic conditions for human survival as well as constantly fluctuating physical surroundings.

As ice makes up the entire physical environment of the arctic cap, different times of the year present vastly different ground conditions; namely various ice thicknesses, hardness and layering of the ice, topographical features and overall ice coverage.as these factors change over the course of the year so do all architectural and formal qualities associated with them.

polar ants-02-methodology-A-robotics04 from Polar Ants on Vimeo.

This project proposes an adaptable, mutable and contextual scientific research facility on the arctic ice cap. The model for this research centre is based on the nature of exploratory and cinematographic expeditions, the kind exemplified by a bbc series human planet. The duality of needs (investigation and documentation) necessitates an architecture which can accommodate two distinct working environments: one exterior and dynamic; and one interior and stable and controlled. any architectural intervention has to act as a bridge between these environments: facilitate in dangerous explorations while making habitation of the arctic more feasible.

The intervention challenges the basic assumptions of what an architectural demand for an arctic expedition normally implies: a static and formally simplistic structure. In contrast, the resulting architecture is self-regulating, self-contained and autonomous. this project challenges vernacular ice architecture as non-adaptable and unresponsive to the landscape and environmental forces.  Upon the decision of purely using on-site materials and at the same time challenging the igloo, this project aims to produce an architecture which has more than an additive logic. As such, this project proposes the idea of “burrowing architecture”, which is a subtractive methodology.”

Check out the rest of the thesis @ http://www.polarants.com

All images and text via www.polarants.com and www.designboom.com

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