Speculative Project. The Arctic Nature Defence Forces

The current work explores the role of the architect in the face of changing environmental conditions. The Arctic area is confronted with dramatic social, economic and environmental changes. The increasing pressure on the Arctic natural resources and Arctic Ocean waterways sets higher demands for the otherwise sparsely populated area. In order to ensure more efficient search and rescue competence and nature protection, a new infrastructure is needed.

‘The Arctic Nature Defence Forces’ aims at creating a new Trans-Arctic rescue centre network that would respond to incidents from watercraft and aircraft accidents to cleaning small-scale oil spills. The network includes coastal rescue bases as well as rescue stations located on the drift ice on the Arctic Ocean. The rescue bases on the continent make use of the existing infrastructure built on the northern coast of North America and Russia during the cold war.

The other half of the network deals with the occupancy of the Arctic Ocean ice cover research stations and rescue bases. The task of the stations located on the drift ice moved by currents and winds is to be able to respond to smaller incidents, monitor the area in their field of influence, provide continuous feedback on climate conditions and maritime traffic, and also conduct daily research work. As a prefab building on drift ice, the rescue base considers the extreme conditions of the polar area and, in the face of shrinking resources, makes use of the main local material—ice that is used as building material for covering buildings and the areas between them and also for the constant repairs of its base, that is, the ice island.

The project began with the Master’s thesis defended at the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at the Estonian Academy of Arts in 2013 (supervisors Andres Ojari and Markus Kaasik).

PUBLISHED: Maja 107 (winter 2022) with main topic Evolution or Revolution?

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