The Australian Antarctic Division is preparing to overhaul and modernise Davis research station, originally established in 1957.

AAD Director, Kim Ellis, said it was an unprecedented opportunity to reimagine Australia’s second-oldest Antarctic station, create world-class facilities for scientific research, and support future operational activities.

“We will combine input from our Antarctic research community with architectural and engineering expertise to develop a sustainable and efficient research station for decades to come,” Mr Ellis said.

UK-based architect Hugh Broughton and engineering consultants WSP have been engaged to develop the master plan.

The consultants are regarded among the world’s leading designers of polar research facilities, such as the relocatable Halley VI Research Station for the British Antarctic Survey, and the Juan Carlos 1 Spanish Antarctic Base for the Spanish Ministry of Science.

WSP and the Hugh Broughton Architect team are also working on the current redevelopment of Scott Base for Antarctica New Zealand.

Mr Ellis said the master plan will aim to address the challenges of living and working in Antarctica, including weather, isolation, logistics and environmental protection.

“It will provide for living and working facilities at the ‘Riviera of the South’ that enhance health, safety and a strong sense of community,” he said.

“A redeveloped Davis station will enable better laboratories that allow our scientists to collaborate with other Treaty nations in research never undertaken before.”

“The station will be more sustainable, reducing our dependence on carbon fuels and our footprint in Antarctica, by improving our waste disposal and energy utilisation,” Mr Ellis said.

In 2019 the Federal Government committed $450 million over ten years to upgrade Australia’s network of Antarctic research stations and supporting infrastructure. The funding was announced as part of the Hobart City Deal and is one of the major investments under the Australian Antarctic Strategy and 20 Year Action Plan.

A final decision on the requirements and schedule of a modernised Davis station depends on the approval of plans for a year-round aviation facility near Davis research station.

A similar master planning approach will be used at Casey and Mawson research stations and Wilkins Aerodrome.