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6 - living there today

Halley VI – Generation Next


Plans have been drawn up to create ‘Halley VI’, the sixth version of the British Halley research station. Before the plans are finalised, the British Antarctic Survey wants to make sure that Halley VI will meet all the needs of their staff that will live and work there.

As a team of designers, your job is to make this happen!

Situated on the Brunt Ice Shelf, Halley is the remotest of the British research stations. Halley was first built in 1956 and has since been rebuilt four times. During the summer months about 65 people live and work at Halley V, but for nine months of the year, the research station is completely cut off from the outside world. Fifteen or so people brave it out during the winter when temperatures can fall to -50 degrees C and there is almost 24 hour darkness for three months.

Location of Halley

Halley’s position on the Brunt Ice Shelf is problematic. The ice shelf is moving towards the ocean at several hundred metres a year, eventually breaking off into icebergs when it reaches the Weddell Sea. As Halley constantly moves closer and closer to the edge of the ice, it needs to be systematically replaced every 10 years or so. Plans have now been drawn up to build Halley VI, a completely new research station, to replace the current Halley V.

Design plans for Halley VI are both groundbreaking and futuristic. Thanks to special mechanical legs that will act like skis, Halley VI will be able to move with the ice, and be towed to different positions on the ice shelf, dramatically increasing its potential lifespan.

Halley VI - artists impression

The central area of the research station itself will be available for recreation and relaxation. On either side, a platform will link together detachable ‘modules’. Some of the modules from the north platform will provide accommodation all year round, with each big enough for eight bedrooms. On the south platform, the modules will be used for science laboratories and extra accommodation during the busy summer months.


Your design brief

You are working as a group of designers bidding for the final design contract for Halley VI.

Produce a plan to develop these four areas of Halley VI. Include diagrams to illustrate and explain your plans.

Before you start:

  • Download and read information about the current Halley V research station.
  • Think about what people who work at Halley want and need? (how they like to spend their free time, what helps to make living there during the winter months bearable … lighting, windows, even decoration etc)
  • Download ‘Living and working in Antarctica’ for more background information.
  • Look at the model of the central area for recreation and relaxation at Halley VI. Plan how you would make best use of this space to keep people happy.

Halley VI - central area plan

  • Three ‘modules’ along the north platform are currently available for facilities other than bedrooms or science laboratories. What would you use them for?
  • The British Antarctic Survey wants to make sure that Halley VI will do minimum damage to the surrounding environment, and therefore want plans on how to use energy and water efficiently and how to dispose of waste. What would you do?
  • How would you make Halley VI a happier place to live and work during the long, dark winter months?

Which group in the class would win the contract?

Find out what the final design for Halley VI was. How is the final design similar to or different from your designs?


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