Images of climate innovation

Discovering our future: Antarctica

Architect's visualisation of the Discovery Building, Antarctica. The building will be a new world-class scientific support and operations facility at Rothera Research Station for British Antarctic Survey. This cutting-edge building with a unique environmental design specifically for Antarctica, will assist climate-related research at the UK's largest polar station. Construction began on the new building in 2019 and is scheduled for completion in 2024.

An architect's depiction of the building in Antarctica

The Discovery Building commemorates the discovery of Antarctica just over 200 years ago by British naval officer Edward Bransfield. It has a unique design to meet the challenges of living and working in Antarctica, along with helping British Antarctic Survey achieve its target of Net Zero carbon emissions by 2040.

The new Discovery Building will ensure that Rothera Research Station remains a centre of excellence for polar science for all UK scientists, and a station of choice for international collaboration. Facilities include preparation areas for field expeditions, science workshops, offices, recreational spaces (music room and climbing wall), and a medical centre. The highest environmental standards for the building's construction and special Antarctic setting are met by targeting a sustainability certification, the Building Research Establishment's industry-recognised 'BREEAM Excellent' accreditation.

The Discovery Building's design includes a thermally efficient composite panel envelope to minimise energy use, heat recovery generators, photovoltaic solar panels and snow scour and wind deflector the largest of its kind in Antarctica - to reduce energy spent removing snow from around the building. The building is adaptable for different user needs depending on the season, with multi-occupancy and multi-functional rooms and spaces.

The new facility is 90m long with a corridor along the length of the building, with related areas/facilities nearby, so that people can operate between different parts of the building without needing to venture outside, minimising heat loss through the opening of external doors.

The project is part of the Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme, commissioned by the Natural Environment Research Council (UKRI-NERC). Delivering the project includes specialists in sustainable engineering, construction partner BAM and their team, design consultants Sweco and Hugh Broughton Architects. Ramboll is acting as BAS's Technical Advisers, with their team NORR Architects and Turner & Townsend.

Entrant: Jon Ager / Livia Oldland , British Antarctic Survey (BAS), (Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme)

Copyright: Hugh Broughton Architects, Sweco, BAM, British Antarctic Survey