Scott Base Redevelopment

An aerodynamic and people-centred design that supports the continuation of Aotearoa New Zealand’s internationally significant research in one of the coldest and least hospitable places on Earth.


Project Details

Client Antarctica New Zealand
Sector Health & Science
Location Antarctica
Discipline Architecture, Interior Design, BIM Management
Status Ongoing
Design Collaborators Hugh Broughton Architects (design partner), WSP (civil and structural engineers), Steensen Varming (building services engineers), The Building Intelligence Group (design management lead), RWDI (snow and wind engineers), Gurit (façade engineers), Rawlinsons (cost consultants)

Reinforcing Aotearoa New Zealand’s scientific presence in Antarctica

Situated on a low volcanic headland at the southern end of Ross Island, the new Scott Base will define New Zealand’s science mission and presence in Antarctica, replacing the 60+ year old existing base buildings with a state-of-the-art facility that will ensure New Zealand’s critical atmospheric and biological research can continue for the next 50 years.

The new structure will provide a workplace and home to scientists for periods of up to 13 months at a time and is designed to support health and wellbeing without compromising on safety.

Designing for resilience, energy efficiency and waste minimisation

Antarctica New Zealand is aiming for a custom 5-star Green Star New Zealand excellence rating for the design of Scott Base. The immensely efficient ecosystem within the base is designed to cause as minimal impact as possible to the site, with every kilojoule of energy consumed, and every kilogram of waste monitored and minimised. The building will also become an enabler of global research into climate change.

As the coldest, windiest, and driest continent on the planet, the environment will place extreme forces on the future building, the ramifications of which have played a significant role in the design. Unlike the existing buildings, the new structures will be elevated above the ground to reduce the accumulation of snow at the base of the buildings. Curved forms allow prevailing winds, which can reach 180km/hr, to flow efficiently around the buildings and minimise wind resistance. Similarly, the triple glazed windows have rounded corners to reduce the risk of stress fractures caused by the elements.

International teamwork

As much as Antarctic science research demonstrates international collaboration, the design of the base draws on expertise from around the world. Jasmax and UK-based Hugh Broughton Architects were appointed to design the base in 2017 and Jasmax led the international design team through to the completion of developed design. 

With $344M in government funding secured in 2021, a strong cultural identity embedded throughout the design of the building, and documentation for the new science facility and support infrastructure well progressed, the project was tendered for its final delivery phases. Antarctica New Zealand, supported by Hugh Broughton Architects, WSP, Steensen Varming and main contractor Leighs Construction are finalising the detailed design and delivery to meet the 2028 completion target.