British Antarctic Survey

Halley VI is the new scientific research centre being built by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) on the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica for 2012. It will be home to some 15 scientists through the winter, rising in the summer to over 50 people, carrying out critical research into climate change.  Because of the continuous movement of the Brunt Ice Shelf on which it is located, Halley VI had to be relocateable.

MRC were appointed as architectural advisor to run the procurement of professional and contractor teams.  We developed the brief and evaluated responses.  We then managed the flow of information to three teams of finalists, assessing the design quality and innovation of their proposals to Scheme Design (RIBA Stage D). 

We were retained to act as a bridge between the design teams and the client so that the ideas that the team developed could be fully optimized in the subsequent building phase.

One of the principal drivers for BAS was the development of genuine innovation in the design and construction of this exceptionally difficult site.

To develop the ‘soft brief’ beyond the technical requirements we questioned the scientists currently in the Antarctic about their lives.  We discovered that among other things, they wanted to relax by watching the stars in comfort during the winter’s six months of continuous darkness, so a viewing dome was included as a requirement of the brief.

The competition was won by Hugh Broughton Architects.