Insight > Lighting

normal day, to make sure circadian rhythms are supported,” explains Broughton, who suggests that temperature can help create a better sense of a work-life divide. “Lighting highlights your transition from zone to zone, so for example, the living spaces may have a warmer temperature of lighting, whereas laboratories may have slightly cooler lighting,” he says.

In the polar regions, the angle of the sun tends to be low, resulting in blinding sunlight coming through the windows. To counter this, Broughton’s team has introduced integral blinds to all the windows to cut out glare. OZ Architects decided there was no need for shading within the living areas of the McMurdo station, but like their contemporaries they will black out bedrooms at night, because, says

Petersen, “when you’re trying to go to sleep, the sun is still out as though it were the height of your workday.” While the current lodgings don’t have shades formally installed, inhabitants have devised their own methods to stifle the glare, covering the windows in creative ways, using foil over them, or mattresses. Equally, Petersen stresses the significance of being able to open blinds and let in daylight to your bedroom when you wake up. “It helps you start your day, and you can see what the weather is like outside. It just connects you to the world that you’re in,” he says.

Illuminating the home There can be serious consequences to not employing these measures for workers, and Broughton considers sensitive lighting to be a matter of

health and safety. “You hear of people going into a kind of time-keeping freefall and they find themselves getting up later and later, particularly in the winter when it’s dark all the time, to the point that they’re getting up mid-afternoon and going to bed at five or six in the morning,” he says. “Not only is that not good for their general health, but also it excludes them from the community, so it has social and mental implications too.” The primary work season is from October to March and “during that time, the sun just circles round for days and days”, says Petersen. By May or June it starts to sink down low, at which time the stations rely solely on electrical lighting. “During the dark months, it’s important to use daylight- simulation lamps, which can help balance people’s melatonin and

Below and opening page: Halley VI Antarctic Research Station, Antarctica – designed by Hugh Broughton.

serotonin,” Broughton says. “When we were designing the Halley VI Antarctic research station, we worked with Philips and developed an alarm clock that woke you up with a false dawn and helped balance melatonin and serotonin by tricking your body into thinking that it was daytime.” While still relatively infantile, interest in Antarctic architecture is growing, partly due to the allure of building at the end of the Earth. However, it’s also a field of design that anticipates challenges and illuminates solutions closer to home. Due to the constant need for renovation and adaptation, you can be sure that those leading the way for more sustainable living in the world’s southernmost point will be setting a precedent for others building in much more accommodating climes.


Halley VI/JMorris

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