Australian Minister for the Environment, the Hon Sussan Ley, says the AAD is engaging with Australia’s Antarctic community to understand the challenges of living and working in a remote Antarctic environment.
“We want to build a sustainable and resilient station that has flexibility to support future science and emerging technologies.”
WSP, Elton Consulting and experts in designing for the Antarctic, Hugh Broughton Architects, are delivering the master plan to develop state-of-the art the infrastructure at Davis research station, located in East Antarctica. Located in Auckland, Christchurch, London, Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney, the team can be considered truly global.
The masterplan has addressed the challenges of living and working in Antarctica. These include extreme weather condition, isolation, logistics and resource availability.
Davis research station aims to be a modern research station that enhances health, safety and wellbeing for expeditioners living and working on the continent. Providing resilient facilities that support year-round, world-leading science and showcase holistic sustainability, setting the new standard for infrastructure development in Antarctica.
The new master plan comprises three stages:
- stabilisation works to renew key infrastructure and support aging infrastructure and increase the station population to approximately 120;
- enabling works to support a population of around 250 people for the construction of a proposed paved runway capable of supporting year-round access to the continent
- and the final master plan, which will continue the long term year-round presence at Davis to support science, logistics and the operation of the proposed aerodrome, if approved to proceed.
Hugh Broughton, Director, Hugh Broughton Architects, says it’s an absolute pleasure to be working with the AAD and partners. He says that because the project is being delivered in stages, the team can ensure that work which is done in one phase is complementary to the next, maximising operational efficiency and minimising disruption.
“This will provide a route map to reduce the environmental footprint with innovative, resilient and sustainable infrastructure. The emerging concepts will ensure the physical and psychological well-being of the crew and will provide an excellent platform for a greater breadth of research, propelling Antarctic science forward and opening areas of investigation to future generations.”
Given the challenging conditions in Antarctica the team has employed innovation to support flexible installation, timely delivery and to achieve sustainability outcomes. This has resulted in a series of elevated aerodynamic modular, and easily maintainable buildings, with open plan, well-lit interiors, which will support a strong sense of community for residents.
A key part of this has been gathering information and feedback from a variety of sources including those with on-the-ground experience.
Will Parker, Technical Director Property and Buildings, WSP, says that it’s been a real pleasure working with the AAD team and helping to identify potential future opportunities and solutions. The process to date has benefited from excellent engagement by AAD staff at all levels, including staff connecting online remotely from Davis station.”
He adds that the AAD has shown great foresight in identifying the need for development of a robust master plan which will direct development at the station and establish a new benchmark for Australia’s Antarctic Stations.
The master plan
The station includes living and sleeping accommodation, an operations and administration building and a science and technology building incorporating a 360-degree observatory and science deck, with link bridges connecting buildings. The modular design allows for future flexibility to change the use of facilities and enable easy expansion.
The use of new and emerging technology is being considered, including sustainable and efficient infrastructure. The master plan is looking at ways of reducing consumption of water, improving energy efficiency and improving management of waste generation, and minimising the station’s environmental impacts and operating costs.
A final decision on the requirements and schedule of the modernised Davis station depends on whether the proposed Davis aerodrome is approved to proceed.