A refuge for researchers on Antarctica designed by an architecture student at University CEU Cardenal Herrera was awarded a prize in the international competition Ideas Forward

Teresa Sanchis, and Álvaro and Francisco Hidalgo obtained an honorable mention for their entry in Ideas Forward, in which 2.000 students from 44 countries participated

Architecture students Teresa Sanchis, who studies at CEU-UCH, and Álvaro and Francisco Hidalgo, two brothers who study at UPV, obtained an honorable mention in the competition Ideas Forward.
Architecture students Teresa Sanchis, who studies at CEU-UCH, and Álvaro and Francisco Hidalgo, two brothers who study at UPV, obtained an honorable mention in the competition Ideas Forward.

24 hours to forward a proposal for an architectural construction on a surprise theme. This was the challenge posed in the international competition Ideas Forward, in which Architecture students Teresa, Álvaro and Francisco participated. Teresa studies at University CEU Cardenal Herrera; the brothers Álvaro and Francisco both study at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV). Their design of a spherical refuge for researchers on Antarctica was distinguished with an honorable mention in this international competition, in which more than 2.000 students from 44 countries participated.

The design Teresa Sanchis and the Hidalgo brothers created resembles the evening sun setting over the horizon, and so they called it ‘Sunset’. They designed the refuge in only 24 hours, on the basis of the sphere, a pure geometrical form. In their design, a plane divides this sphere in two sections: the upper part, where the living quarters are, and the bottom part, a subterranean storage area.

Durable on the outside, flexible on the inside

According to CEU-UCH student of Architecture Teresa Sanchis, “in our design of the sphere the outside wall is a double insulating layer made of carbon fiber, a very durable material. The material is black, and, therefore, absorbs the rays of the sun. The sphere’s curved form makes it aerodynamic, which is important since Antarctica has the strongest gusts of wind on the planet.”

In the design made by the three students the sphere features movable compartments on the inside. “The working conditions on Antarctica are very hostile, and so we wanted to enable residents of the sphere to construct their ideal world. We wanted them to be master of their space, and to be free to change the configuration on the inside of the sphere as they please.” This flexibility of internal space allows for the possibility to create one, two or more bedrooms, in accordance to the number of researchers who at a given moment occupy the sphere.

The proposal for a refuge on Antarctica, named ‘Sunset’, by Teresa Sanchis, and Álvaro and Francisco Hidalgo.
The proposal for a refuge on Antarctica, named ‘Sunset’, by Teresa Sanchis, and Álvaro and Francisco Hidalgo.

Modular and adaptable to terrain

Moreover, the plane that intersects the sphere has a double function. Inside, it separates the sphere in two parts, each of which have their own purpose; while outside, it is an adjustable platform that ensures the sphere is perfectly horizontal with the ground, whichever the kind of terrain where it is located. CEU-UCH student Teresa Sanchis adds that she and the brothers Hidalgo “thought of dividing the sphere in modules, so that it would not be necessary to transport the sphere in its entirety, but, instead, could be split up and transported in parts.”

Because of the creativity and practicality of the solutions put forward by these Architecture students at University CEU Cardenal Herrera and UPV their design obtained the recognition of the jury in the competition Ideas Forward. The first prize was awarded to a design that, too, is spherical and in all other respects very similar to the one by the three Valencian students. An excellent result considering it was the first time they participated in an international competition which more than 2.000 contestants from around the world took part in and which puts creativity to the test in a record time.

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