First established in 1977, the Rothera Research Station – or RSS — is the largest British Antarctic facility. Located west of the Antarctic Peninsula on Adelaide Island, this research-driven arctic locale primarily serves as a biological research center, though it’s also utilized as a support hub for “deep-field” and air operations. Rothera currently boasts the Bonner research lab, a 900M gravel runway and accompanying hanger, a wharf, and various offices and workshops, though workers have just broken ground on the latest addition to the research station with the new Discovery Building.
Designed as a collaborative effort between Hugh Broughton Architects and NORR — plus consulting help from Turner & Townsend, Ramboll, and Sweco — the 48,440 square-foot Discovery Building is a large two-story multi-purpose structure that’s been engineered from the ground up to withstand the otherworldly Arctic conditions of Adelaide Island. The building’s facade boasts an aerodynamic profile, designed to minimize structural stress from strong winds while also helping to mitigate snow buildup. Part of a larger decade-long redevelopment project, the Discovery Center will eventually host a medical facility, storage areas, recreational areas, and a new roof-top control tower for the facility’s landing strip upon its completion in 2023.