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Example Group Project

1n 2004-5 the British Antarctic Survey and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) ran a competition to design a replacement for the Halley VI research station in Antarctica. Although targetted at architects and consulting engineers this competition had many of the features we require of our group projects, such as a need for creativity, research, innovation and both conceptual and detailed design. A group project was therefore set up to 'shadow' the competition and you can see some of our students' work below:

Extract from the students' report

The British Antarctic Survey has commissioned the design of a new research station, Halley VI. The station is a replacement for their existing base, Halley V, which is soon to come to the end of its working life. It is to be located on the Brunt Ice Shelf on the Antarctic continent, and is to be implemented within a budget of around £19 million.

The unusual location makes this a unique and exciting project. Not only does the extreme climate present a distinct challenge, but the continuous movement of the ice sheet means the station must be able to be relocated periodically throughout its life.

BA Engineering Solutions have designed a modern and innovative station which offers an efficient and adaptable solution to the BAS’s requirements. The new Halley VI is based on a single-storey, modular, relocatable design. This modularity makes the station highly adaptable, and allows for repetition in manufacture, prefabrication of parts, partial shut-down, and potential for future expansion.


The station must be raised from the ground to prevent it being buried by the continually falling snow. Previous stations, including the existing Halley V are permanently raised on long legs, to allow the wind to pass beneath the buildings and prevent snow piling up. In addition, to give Halley VI a sufficiently long lifetime, the station must be moved periodically. It was decided early on by the group that the best solution to the problem was to keep the station raised several metres above the snow and then lower it onto the surface whereupon it could be dragged to its new location and raised above the snow once more.

The station’s legs will not go deep into the snow, but will rest on the surface, on wide bases. The legs will, to an extent become buried over time, but only by a metre or two which will mean they can easily be ‘pulled out’ each time the buildings are relocated. This serves both to prevent the station becoming buried, and also to prevent the station moving seaward with the ice and eventually being lost. The process is illustrated below:

The group consisted of the following students:

A.J. Cameron, T.P. Gleadall, R.P. Harris, M. Parkes, G. Pilmoor, W. Pollitt and T.J.W. Reed (aka BA Engineering Solutions)