India’s National Center for Antarctic and Ocean Research is situated in northeast Antarctica. The Bharati Indian Polar Station is built on an 27,000 square feet area out of 134 shipping containers. The research center’s residential quarters shows almost everything that can be built out of shipping containers including an hotel of 24 single and double bedrooms, kitchen, dining room, library, fitness room, offices, a lounge and an operational theater.
There are at least two reasons why the research complex was built by using shipping containers. First, according to the Antarctic Treaty System, all the construction in the Antarctica should not leave any trace to the environment. Shipping containers make it possible to dissassemble and remove the building without causing any environmental impact.
Second, due to shipping containers’ physical properties and their durability, they are an excellent building material for extreme weather conditions. Shipping containers are designed to be shipped even in a rough weather in the world’s seas. Therefore they can even handle the wind gusts of 200 mph and the temperatures of -40 C of the Antarctica.
The shipping container complex was prefabricated in Germany and shipped to Antwerp and Cape Town. In Antarctica the research center was able to be assembled quickly. The facade of the center was designed to forestall the buildups of snow drifts.
Thanks to the German company Bof Architekten, the center can accommodate 47 researchers during summers and 24 during winters. The energy of the center is provided by a Combined Heat and Power Unit (CHP) which is powered by stockpiles of kerosene. There are actually a total of three CHP units on site, so as to ensure that an untimely mechanical failure does not leave the residents in dire straits.
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Tuomas P. // SMC Editor