Human presence in Antarctica is an achievement that is approaching its 200th Anniversary. The rapid transformation of the polar region under the effect of global warming and the unchartered nature of most of the continent urges the necessity to research and document the extreme Southern territory with critical tools of analysis and representation.
Antarctica 200 is a cross-disciplinary project conceived to shed light on a continent that lies in the dark six months per year. In preparation to the 2020 anniversary, the project aims to research the evolution of Antarctic architecture (from whalers shelters to the hyper-advanced contemporary scientific stations), analyse the logistic and technological challenges of building in such an extreme environment, assess the physical and psychological effects of polar inhabitation, and map the geopolitical, economic and environmental implications of the Antarctic Treaty System. The ambition is to unveil the unique traits of this exceptional continent laboratory, asses its indisputable role in the global ecosystem, understand the conflicting and fragile Antarctic policies, and produce a body of research that will be debated at the Antarctica 200 World Conference, at the 2020 Venice Architecture Biennale, and will ultimately be disseminated in the form of a Publication.
Directed by Giulia Foscari and Francesco Bandarin, Antarctica 200 relies on the close collaboration of a group of global experts from the fields of architecture, engineering, science, glaciology, international law, anthropology, literature and art. The primary research platform of Antarctica 200 is the AA Polar Lab, an experimental programme of the Architectural Association of London. Acting as a catalyst for numerous international academic outposts, the London based AA Polar Lab will build upon the Greek abstract conceptualization of Antarctica and the 20th century imperial quest of mapping the continent, in an attempt to by-pass the contemporary hyper-mediated and under-theorized general understanding of the continent to produce a data-driven Antarctic Atlas.