A new super-insulated building at one of Australia’s Antarctic stations has won an Engineers Australia Award for Excellence.

The Davis station Living Quarters, designed by the Australian Antarctic Division and Hyder Consulting, is a steel framed building clad in thermally efficient fibre-composite panels, made from foam, timber and fibreglass.

The building is in the final stages of fit-out and encompasses a new kitchen, dining room, and common area.

The Australian Antarctic Division’s Project Engineer, Mark Pekin, said the extreme Antarctic weather conditions dictated every aspect of the building project.

“During winter the temperature at Davis can drop to about minus 40 degrees Celsius, so we had to make sure the building could withstand such severe conditions and remain at a constant temperature internally,” Mr Pekin said.

“The composite panels were fabricated at the Division’s headquarters in Kingston before being shipped south and are extremely thermally-efficient as well as being flexible and strong.

“The building also has super-insulated windows with two panes of glass, heat mirrors and a krypton gas-filled air space,” he said.

The Living Quarters will cater for up to 120 expeditioners when completed next month.

The Awards were judged on four criteria:

  • Sound engineering practice/principles
  • Originality/ingenuity
  • Adherence to budget and program
  • Extent to which the work has provided a safe and healthy working environment

The building is now in the running for the National Engineers Australia Awards to be announced in late November.