Diary: Architects bid for frozen commission

Three teams of architects and engineers will embark on an icy site visit to Antarctica next year for an architectural competition. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has organised a contest to find a design for the British Antarctic Survey's Halley VI research station.

Buro Happold with Lifschutz Davidson, Faber Maunsell with Hugh Broughton Architects and Hopkins Architects with Expedition Engineers are the three finalists selected from a shortlist of six. They beat off stiff competition from internationally renowned architectural firms.

The winning concepts will be on show at the RIBA's Extreme Challenge design exhibition, which runs until 8 January. All the designs have a science fiction quality. The station must provide living, working and entertainment facilities for scientists spending months in one of the most inhospitable environments on earth.

The heavy representation of engineering firms in the shortlist reflects the difficulties of a site subject to storms and snow drifts capable of burying an office block. The station will be located on an ice shelf that regularly sheds icebergs the size of small countries. The winner will be announced next September.


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