Can the tropics-raised Indian survive in -40 degrees Celsius temperatures, including wind gusts of 321 km/h in one of the most isolated regions in the world? Maybe not for the likes of us commoners but the answer would be a resounding yes thanks to one of the least talked about international foray by India--the Bharathi Antarctic Research Station.
The 27,000 sq. ft Bharathi Indian Polar Station was constructed using shipping containers on a peninsula in the Larsmann hills region in the North-east section of Antarctic. The extreme climate conditions and limited means of transportation required a special architectural solution while the special stipulations of the Antarctic treaty required the station, required the facility to be designed in such a way that it could be completely disassembled and removed without a trace.
An open competition for the constuction of the Polar station was held, which was won by Hamburg-based bof Architects and IMS Ingenieurgesellschaft with Brunswick’s m+p consulting in December 2006. The contract was awarded by the Government Of India’s National Centre For Antarctic and Ocean Research and the planning on the project started in spring of 2009.
The self-sufficient Bharathi consists of three floors, which are built using 134 shipping containers which were interlocked, covered with an insulated skin and outer shell. The containers were pre-fabricated in Germany before being shipped and assembled quickly onsite during the short Antarctic Summer of late 2011 into 2012. The building was set on stilts and the outer facade is shaped with the aid of a wind tunnel into a form, which is said to help forestall the buildup of snow drifts and the construction was completed in February 2013.
The second floor has a total of 24 single and double occupancy rooms along with a kitchen, a dining room, library, fitness room, an OP room as well as offices and a lounge. The lower level have the laboratories and storage space while the third floor houses the terrace and the air-conditioning system. The energy for the station is provided by a Combined Heat and Power Unit with wind power also being considered as a possible future addition to power facilities such as a sauna. The Antarctic Summer sees the occupancy of the station at 47, which drops to 24 during the gruesome winters.
Remember the dreams of being a scientist or physicist that you gave up on? Well, you could have ended up here.
Image Source: Archello