NOAA Cape Shirreff
End Use: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries), Antarctic Ecosystem Research Division (AERD), located at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC), has conducted integrated ecosystem assessments around the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands since 1986. AERD manages and implements the U.S. Antarctic Marine Living Resources Program (U.S. AMLR Program). The principal objective of the build is to support the U.S. AMLR Program is to collect data and perform analyses that form the basis of scientific advice relevant to management of all fisheries in the Southern Ocean, with a particular emphasis on the Antarctic krill fishery. Phase one involves the design and construction of the field station's bunkhouse, where up to eight scientists will sleep. It will also include the galley that will service as a communal meeting place as well as store food and provide a cooking space. The project will eventually include buildings to replace the entire long-time NOAA Fisheries field camp in one of the most remote and extreme environments on Earth.
Why SIPs: now and ice surround the camp for nine or more months a year, and the rest of the year it is rainy. The cold, damp conditions have taken their toll on the existing buildings, with floors and walls disintegrating from mold and rot. Leaders of the Antarctic Ecosystem Research Division developed plans to rebuild the station in ways that would make it more livable while also reducing its environmental footprint. The buildings must be sturdy but built as sustainably as possible to reduce environmental impacts. For instance, the designers avoided paint as much as possible to reduce the risk of contaminating the barren but sensitive surroundings. The same system that collects precipitation for drinking water at the field camp also provides ballast that helps weigh the buildings down against the intense Antarctic winds. The buildings must be built so that once complete, they could be disassembled and packed into three standard shipping containers for transport to Antarctica.
Benefits of SIPs: It’s an elegant yet affordable solution that is designed around the science that is being done there. The group that travels to Antarctica with the disassembled buildings will live in tents while reassembling them at Cape Shirreff so the ability to "pack and go" sotospeak, the ability to disassemble and reassemble is not only a basic convenience but a time saving and cost saving factor.
Innovative Design Elements: The shape of the roof is designed to maximize sun exposure for the solar array that will power the team’s equipment while also collecting rainwater. Insulation is built into the walls, floor, and roof, which are thicker than usual to insulate the buildings. The roof and exterior walls are clad stainless steel that will not need painting. The tradeoffs are the best choice both in terms of the energy that went into making it and the advantages it will provide by reducing impacts in Antarctica. While the new buildings will have a smaller overall footprint, they will have more living space thanks to decks shared among the structures.