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Hugh Broughton Architects and AECOM have won an international competition for the design of a new Atmospheric Watch Observatory at Summit Station in Greenland.

The appointment is their third joint triumph in the cold regions, firmly establishing both companies as world-class leaders in the design of facilities for polar research. Previous project wins include the 2007 competition-winning scheme for the Juan Carlos I Spanish Antarctic Base and the design of Halley VI Research Station for the British Antarctic Survey, which will be officially inaugurated next February.

Located at the top of the Greenland ice cap, at 72 degrees north, 3225m above sea level and nearly 400 km from the nearest point of land, Summit Station is a scientific research station sponsored by the U.S. National Science Foundation under a permit with the Government of Greenland and operated by CH2M HILL Polar Services. The station is the home of the Greenland Environmental Observatory which monitors key climate variables in extreme conditions: snow levels rise by 700mm per annum and temperatures drop to –60ºC in winter.

The module is designed to provide year round state-of-the-art laboratory facilities for atmospheric and snow chemistry research. The energy efficient, aerodynamic design maximizes flexibility to suit the ever-changing needs of the scientific research. Features include hydraulic legs to help the module climb above the rising snow levels, highly insulated glass fiber cladding and integrated photovoltaic arrays. All materials have to be scrutinized to ensure there is no risk of pollution through off gassing of highly sensitive aerosol experiments. The module could be prefabricated in the USA, shipped to Thule in Greenland from where it would be hauled in sections 730 miles across the ice cap to the station for assembly and commissioning.
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