Pram Point, Ross Island, Antarctica
2017 – 2030
Antarctica New Zealand
Roxane Baillet, Hugh Broughton, Helen King, Steve McCloy, Devon Moar, Gianluca Rendina, Robert Songhurst, Emily Tunnacliffe, Jessica Knight
Jasmax (Partner Architect)
WSP (Structural and Civil Engineers)
Steensen Varming (Services Engineer)
Scott Base is located on Pram Point on Ross Island. Temperatures in the winter drop below -40°C with 24-hour darkness for around four months. The first iteration of the base was designed for Sir Edmund Hillary’s Trans Antarctic Expedition in 1957. A permanent presence has been maintained in the Ross Dependency ever since.
Many of the current structures have now reached the end of their effective life. As a result, in 2017, Antarctica New Zealand embarked on the process to redevelop Scott Base and provide a facility to support science for the next 50 years.
Aerial view of the existing base
The design solution comprises three inter-connected aerodynamically shaped two-storey buildings, which step down the hillside of Pram Point. The three buildings are offset from each other to minimise risk of snowdrift between, and are connected with enclosed links. All the buildings are elevated above the ground to encourage wind to flow under, thereby minimising snow accumulation.
The upper building contains the living accommodation and is the primary point of entrance to Scott Base. The upper level contains a mix of single and twin bedrooms, ablutions blocks and living spaces to support a summer population of 100 and a winter crew of 15. The dining room includes a glazed end wall with spectacular views towards Mount Erebus and Mount Terror. The lower level contains the medical suite, laundry, recreational spaces, food storage, shop, locker room, a welcome lounge and plant spaces.
The middle building contains laboratories and offices on the upper level. The lower level is dedicated to open-plan deep-field science expedition preparation with level access via a bridge link to the field stores in the lower building.
The lower building contains the vehicle workshop, inter-continental cargo handling area, waste management and central storage. A small roof deck will support science which requires unimpeded views of the horizon and atmosphere.
The interior design will foster a strong sense of well-being whilst minimising maintenance. Warm, cheerful finishes are being selected for durability, comfort, economy and style. Significant thought is going into ways in which the design can reflect New Zealand’s cultural and natural landscape, capturing the essence of what it means to be a New Zealander, by conveying Māori values and reflecting New Zealand’s history of involvement in Antarctica.
Windows are carefully placed to make the most of natural light and reinforce connections with the Antarctic landscape. The layout has been developed to include lots of places for people to stop and chat as they walk from one place to another, fostering collaboration.
To minimise the environmental footprint of the base, the majority of the energy demand will be provided by the wind turbines of the Ross Island Wind Energy network. Heating will be provided by electric boilers. Only when there is no wind will the base be powered by fuel powered generators, with waste heat collected from these to help heat the base. Water will be produced using reverse osmosis which converts sea water to drinking water. A vacuum drainage system will be used to dispose of waste water. This uses 1.5 litres per flush compared to 9 litres in a standard toilet, helping to save water and energy. Plant is distributed around the base with duplication of key services such as water storage, power production and communications to maximise resilience.