In early 1980 Amancio Williams, the Argentinian architect whose 1943 Bridge House we already featured here at Socks, was consulted by the Argentine authorities to initiate a study to build the first city in Antarctica.
The new complex, half population of which was transient (tourists and conventioneers) and another half composed of small families with children, was to be located on the Antarctic Peninsula and linked to the continent by helicopter. The form of the city ensured protection against wind and snow. The general scheme included a linear development of integrated buildings containing all the necessary social services and a large hotel. Buffer zones of temperature (separated by a system of sliding doors) allowed for the communication between interior and exterior, so that helicopters, small vehicules, cargo and passengers could enter or get out the city.
Construction was made with lightweight and stainless materials. The structure consisted of small elements, easily transported and assembled in sections. These are manufactured in inland industrial centers and then assembled on site. The concrete basement was to be built on the permafrost layer with electrical formworks maintained at the temperature for initial hardening.
The wind was employed to produce electrical energy necessary for the controlled environmental climate inside the structure. In fact the city did not sit directly on the ground (or better said, on the antarctic permafrost) but separated by a layer of water 2.40m deep, kept in a temperature between 10° and 12° by recirculating previously heated and ozonated clean water and serving two functions: firstly as an insulating cushion of low soil temperatures, secondly as a great reservoir of water, given the difficulty of melting ice during winter.
The construction of the city was never implemented, but the study still stands as an interesting revival of 60’s and 70’s radical architects’ speculations for artificial climate-controlled, colossal platforms with very pragmatic applicatios, like a city in an inhospitable environment such as the Antarctica.
Amancio Williams: Lecture for the “City that Humanity needs”. Presentation of the First City in Antarctica starting at 27:07
Via: Relational Thought
Related: Colonization of Antarctica