Extreme Design: Lessons from Antarctica

  • Susan Roaf (Speaker)
  • Joao Pinelo Silva (Speaker)
  • Manuel Correia Guedes (Speaker)
  • Pitts, A. (Speaker)
  • Martin Oughton (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


The warming global climate is triggering ever more extreme weather events with records being broken year on year for flooding, heat and cold waves and wind strengths. Consequently, more buildings are failing in the face of such weather events. In order to build structures that can withstand ever greater climate challenges in which people and populations can ‘bounce forwards’ to remain safe in them, even in worse weather conditions, we need to upgrade our approach to the climatic design of buildings around the world. A recent project to design a tent to stand for twelve months at Collins Bay, Antarctica, emphasised that it is difficult to approach more ‘extreme design’ without actually experiencing the extreme conditions they may be required to operate in. This paper outlines what was learnt in that project about designing for extremely cold and windy environments. Lessons learnt were often unanticipated and included new insights into the form, materials, design, construction and siting of the tent at both its design, its fabrication and its building stages. This paper outlines the main steps in that design learning. The project clearly demonstrated the complexity of the issues involved in making sure the tent was optimally designed and built for and in its location, with a view to ensuring it would not fail in local conditions which include minus 300C during winter and locally recorded winds of up to 200mph. It provides valuable lessons on the underlying process of how to design more generally for more extreme weather futures.
Period10 Apr 2019
Event title1st International Conference on: Comfort at the Extremes: Energy, Economy and Climate
Event typeConference
Conference number1
LocationDubai, United Arab EmiratesShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational