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by Vildana Duzel

Master's Thesis
2020


 

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There is a part of the planet often left off our maps. An inhospitable wasteland seemingly void of utility to our human progress. Yet as Earth’s climate warms and we hurry to understand its result on civilizations across the globe, so too Antarctica’s value is beginning to emerge.

'Polar Embassy' is a strategic design for a deploy-able research station in West Antarctica investigating the pragmatic demands, experiential promise and necessary collaboration of deep field exploration.

In a place inhospitable enough to elude man’s capture, Antarctica poses now, as it did a century ago, fundamental questions of sustainability.

Data lodged in its ice teases us with patterns of past climate systems, while the most severe conditions on Earth command the terms of our efforts to extract them.

This project provides a brief introduction to the continent in the hope of unraveling the latent role of architecture within the environmental and political forces that govern it.

 

Through the charting of its early discovery, anatomical delineation and territorial claim, it becomes clear that the esteemed idiosyncrasy of Antarctica’s natural

landscape is rivaled only by the oddity of the international cooperation that protects it.

 

In light though, of an expiring diplomacy, 'Polar Embassy' asks how an architectural project that withstands the extremes and sustains research efforts can also reinvigorate a global cooperation.

In Antarctica there are challenges to which Architects are adept to respond. Whether in small-scale masterplanning of the larger stations, or considered operational design of remote field camps where researchers are most vulnerable to the elements.

On Thwaites Glacier, the necessity for increased scientific activity presents the predicament of finding a way to shelter and sustain remote research on a year-round basis. It is here that lies the root of my design proposal.