The architectural beauty of the Antarctic science stations, each from its father and mother

The architectural beauty of the Antarctic science stations, each from its father and mother

Antarctica is the fourth largest continent on the planet in terms of total area. It is bigger even than Oceania and Europe. And yet it does not have a native population. No countries. There is a vast and inhospitable place that is still empty. And “available”, if we want to see it that way. For this reason, as we have told before in Magnet, seven nations claim different parts of it: New Zealand, Australia, France, Norway, United Kingdom, Chile and Argentina.

It has nothing more and nothing less than 14 million square kilometers. In this extension, ice, cold, wind and an infinity of natural resources to be exploited. However, no one, not even the great powers, has managed to gain control of these lands.

And it’s not that they haven’t tried. In the first half of the 20th century, many countries began a race for claim portions of the territory. Even Nazi Germany asked for part of the cake, claiming a large strip of land that they called New Swabia. After the Second World War, the Antarctic Treaty system, which established the legal framework for the management of the continent, began to take shape.

While Antarctica does not have an official government, it is administered through annual meetings known as Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings. These meetings involve a range of stakeholders, from member countries to observer organizations like the US and Japan, who do explore and study the continent. The pact froze existing territorial claims and established that Antarctica became an international scientific reserve. Since then, another 42 nations have joined the Treaty, although only 29 – those that carry out “substantial research activities” – have voting power and can make decisions about the present and future of the southern region.

The 36 countries and 6 observers that are dedicated to research and that are also signatories to the Antarctic Treaty and the Environmental Protocol participate in COMNAP. This organization is responsible for planning and conducting Antarctic operations in support of science, called “National Antarctic Programs”.

Each country has its own stations and laboratories throughout the southern territory. AND the architecture of each of them is totally different of the previous one. Seen from the air, they are small colored spots in the abysmal white mantle. But what we have built over all these years is worth looking at. This selection of photographs shows all of them, each one of his father and mother.

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National Directorate of the Antarctic (Argentina)


Australian Antarctic Division (Australia)

Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) (Australia)

Belgian Federal Science Policy and Polar Secretariat (Belgium)

Belgian Federal Science Policy and Polar Secretariat (Belgium)

Brazilian Antarctic Program (Brazil)

Brazilian Antarctic Program (PROANTAR) (Brazil)

Bulgarian Antarctic Institute (Bulgaria)

Bulgarian Antarctic Institute (BAI) (Bulgaria)

Chilean Antarctic Institute (Chile)

Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH) (Chile)

Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration & Polar Research Institute of China (China)

Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration (CAA) & Polar Research Institute of China (PRIC) (China)

Masaryk University (Czech Republic)

Masaryk University (Czech Republic)

Oceanographic and Antarctic Institute of the Navy (Ecuador)

Oceanographic and Antarctic Institute of the Navy (INOCAR) (Ecuador)

Finnish Antarctic Research Program at the Finnish Meteorological Institute (Finland)

Finnish Antarctic Research Program at the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FINNARP) (Finland)

Institut Polaire Français Paul-Émile Victor (France)

Institut Polaire Français Paul-Émile Victor (IPEV) (France)

Alfred Wegener Institute (Germany)

Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) (Germany)

National Center for Polar & Ocean Research (India)

National Center for Polar & Ocean Research (NCPOR) (India)

Program Nazionale Di Ricerche in Antartide (Italy)

Programma Nazionale Di Ricerche in Antartide (PNRA) (Italy)

National Institute of Polar Research (Japan)

National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR) (Japan)

Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (Netherlands)

Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) (The Netherlands)

Antarctica New Zealand (New Zealand)

Antarctica New Zealand (New Zealand)

Norwegian Polar Institute (Norway)

Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) (Norway)

Division of Antarctic Affairs (Peru)

Division of Antarctic Affairs (Peru)

Poland Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics Polish Academy of Sciences (Poland)

Poland Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics Polish Academy of Sciences (Poland)

National Academy of Sciences (Biolorussia)

National Academy of Sciences (Republic of Belarus)

Korean Polar Research Institute (South Korea)

Korean Polar Research Institute (KOPRI) (Republic of Korea)

The Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) / Russian Antarctic Expedition (Russia)

The Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) / Russian Antarctic Expedition (RAE) (Russian Federation)

South African National Antarctic Program (South Africa)

South African National Antarctic Program (SANAP) (South Africa)

Spanish Polar Committee (Spain)

Spanish Polar Committee (CPE) (Spain)

Swedish Polar Research Secretariat (Sweden)

Swedish Polar Research Secretariat (Sweden)

TÜBITAK Marmara Research Center, Polar Research Institute (Turkey)

TÜBITAK Marmara Research Center, Polar Research Institute (Turkey)

National Antarctic Scientific Center of Ukraine (Ukraine)

National Antarctic Scientific Center of Ukraine (NASC) (Ukraine)

British Antarctic Survey (UK)

British Antarctic Survey (BAS) (United Kingdom)

National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs (United States)

National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs (United States of America)

Uruguayan Antarctic Institute (Uruguay)

Uruguayan Antarctic Institute (IAU) (Uruguay)