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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Arctic Research Facility in ice cap of the Arctic Ocean by Polar Ants

March 15th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Polar Ants

Architecture defines, articulates and mediates the relationship between a physical environment and in-habitation. The primary investigation of this project is to balance this relationship through a dynamic study of material behavior. This project therefore proposes a living architecture, and challenges the classical modernist notions of permanence and stability. The theme of this proposal necessitates an equally responsive environment. As such, the project is located on the ice cap of the Arctic Ocean; an environment which exhibits harsh climatic conditions for human survival as well as constantly fluctuating physical surroundings. As ice makes up the entire physical environment of the Arctic cap, different times of the year present vastly different ground conditions; namely various ice thicknesses, hardness and layering of the ice, topographical features and overall ice coverage. As these factors change over the course of the year so do all architectural and formal qualities associated with them.


  • Architects: Polar Ants
  • Project: Arctic Research Facility
  • Location: ice cap of the Arctic Ocean
  • Credits: Lukasz Szlachcic, Anais Mikaelian, Laila Selim, Bita Mohamadi


This project proposes an adaptable, mutable and contextual scientific research facility on the Arctic ice cap. The model for this research centre is based on the nature of exploratory and cinematographic expeditions, the kind exemplified by a BBC series Human Planet. The duality of needs (investigation and documentation) necessitates an architecture which can accommodate two distinct working environments: one exterior and dynamic; and one interior and stable and controlled. Any architectural intervention has to act as a bridge between these environments: facilitate in dangerous explorations while making habitation of the Arctic more feasible. The intervention challenges the basic assumptions of what an architectural demand for an Arctic expedition normally implies: a static and formally simplistic structure. In contrast, the resulting architecture is self-regulating, self-contained and autonomous.


This project challenges vernacular ice architecture as non-adaptable and unresponsive to the landscape and environmental forces. Upon the decision of purely using on-site materials and at the same time challenging the igloo, this project aims to produce an architecture which has more than an additive logic. As such, this project proposes the idea of “burrowing architecture”, which is a subtractive methodology.





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