For almost a decade now, OZ Principal Rick Petersen has been a participant of ” Arc | US “, America’s Leading Architects Forum, hosted by BOND. Last month he was invited to conduct a seminar, where he shared his insights on designing McMurdo Station, the primary United States’ research facility in Antarctica. Rick has been leading the McMurdo design for the past four years and has learned that things aren’t always as they seem on the underside of the planet.
The presentation, “Considering the Opposite: Building in Antarctica” focused on the shifting design principles where otherwise common practices turn to unusual circumstances in the unique terrain and climate of Antarctica. For example, dragging fuel by tractors across a continent for 32 days would seem outlandish on any other continent, however, in Antarctica, it’s actually the most efficient method of transporting fuel. Another usually obvious principle claims that building on site is the best and most efficient way to build. In the case of McMurdo however, pre-fabrication of the building parts off-site allows for minimal construction time in the frigid Antarctic climate. These are just a few of the design considerations and challenges McMurdo Station presents allowing Rick and the OZ team to become well versed in thinking through the unexpected and planning for extremities of a-typical environments.
Rick also presented at this year’s Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Boston along with OZ Principal Steve Brooks, and OZ Sustainability Director Julie Edwards, on their experiences designing in the opposed physical contexts of Antarctica and Africa. Read more on the Greenbuild Equator to Pole Presentation here or find out more about OZ’s Global Practice Area here.