Icy Cold: 3 Shipping Container Solutions in Antarctica
Since their inception over 50 years ago, shipping containers have made their way all over the globe, even reaching the South Pole, one of the coldest places on earth. Today shipping containers are used for a wide variety of applications in Antarctica and are ideal due to their low cost, ease of transport and versatility.
3 Icy Cold Deployments of Shipping Containers in Antarctica
1. Bharathi Antarctic Research Station made entirely from Shipping Containers
The 2,500 square metre Indian research station has been constructed from 134 interconnected shipping containers which have been joined together before being covered with an insulated skin and a protective outer shell. The architects have transformed the humble 40 foot shipping container into something that is weather proof, warm and safe in the punishing Antarctic environment.
Regulations under the Antarctic Treaty require all buildings to be removable, making shipping containers the perfect modular building solution. The entire building can be easily disassembled and relocated without leaving any significant impact on the surrounding Antarctic environment.
To reduce the impact of heavy snowfall, and to help withstand heavy winds and harsh weather conditions, the entire compound has been built on stilts while the outer protective layer has been specifically designed in a wind tunnel to minimise the impact of strong 300kph plus winds.
Its shipping container construction allowed modular units to be constructed safely offsite in Germany (building can only happen during certain times of the year in Antarctica due to lighting and weather conditions) before being shipped to the southern continent via South Africa in 2011 and 2012.
The self contained station supports a contingent of anywhere from 24-47 scientists and research staff and includes a wide range of facilities such as:
- Single and double rooms
- Kitchen and dining area
- Fitness rooms
- Lounge and recreation area
- Doctors surgery and operating theatre
The complex is heated by a kerosene powered combined heating and power unit with multiple backups in case of equipment failure while its water is also treated onsite.
2. Germans planning mars travel inside an Antarctic shipping container
Of course, the usage of shipping containers in Antarctica is not just limited to large scale building complexes and accommodation. The German space agency DLR has an artificial greenhouse that is inside a shipping container that is designed to mimic conditions that would exist in space travel. The agency has spent $20,000 USD on special lights to light up the customised shipping containers to learn the secrets of growing great vegetables and fruit in space.
The shipping container is perfect for the project as it can be closed off to have no natural light – just like it would be in the confines of a spaceship, while being easy to transport to the research location in Antarctica. So far the researchers have started small, growing herbs such as basil, dill, coriander and grains such as wheat.
Of course this research has other positive side effects. With only 9 researchers at the Neumayer Station III and virtually no resupply missions over the cold Antarctic winter, this lonely shipping container provides virtually their only source of healthy and tasty fresh leafy green vegetables.
3. Villa Las Estralles – Home of the Antarctic Container Church
Villa Las Estralles is the biggest civilian settlement on the Antarctic continent housing between 80 and 120 people at any one time. Constructed from modified shipping containers, this settlement includes fourteen 90 square foot homes, a primary school and kindergarten, air force hospital and even a post office that provides sought after Antarctic postmarks that are prized by stamp collectors worldwide!
The settlement also has its very own bank with a solitary banker, souvenir shop and gymnasium as well as a containerised Catholic Church. The Chapel of Santa Maria De La Plaz is also made of a bright blue modified shipping container to host all of the Roman Catholic religious ceremonies in the settlement. The Deacon even lives on site.
Need a storage solution that can withstand harsh Antarctic conditions, or the hot Aussie outback?
Need a storage, building or shipping container solution that can stand up to the rigours of the harsh Antarctic environment, or the opposite extreme? Look no further – Gateway Container Sales and Hire has a wide range of hardy, cheap, new and second hand, modified shipping containers, ready for your project right now. Contact our team of experts to find out the best container solution for you.