Extreme storage, on ice

April 1st, 2017 / By: / Projects

A movable storage and maintenance facility took about a month to erect under extreme conditions in Greenland. Photos: Rubb USA.
A movable storage and maintenance facility took about a month to erect under extreme conditions in Greenland. Photos: Rubb USA.

How do you build an adequate equipment and maintenance facility on the summit of the Greenland Ice Sheet where temperatures fluctuate between -49°F and 14°F and snow fall amounts threaten to bury food and supplies?

The National Science Foundation and their operations partner, CH2M Hill, wanted a practical storage option at the Summit Station, home to the Greenland Environmental Observatory, so they hired Rubb USA, a designer and engineer of tension fabric buildings, to deliver a solution.

Rubb designed a structure durable enough to withstand the elements, yet light enough to be relocated as necessary. The 32-foot by 97-foot structure rests on a sled platform so it can be moved out of drifting snow by a tractor.

Precontraint932-Greenland-RubbUSA4The structure consists of a steel frame on a wood and metal foundation. Serge Ferrari’s Précontraint 932 S2, with exceptional low-temperature resistance (-60°F), was installed as the exterior wall, and Précontraint 412, a light blocking material, makes up the interior wall. An eight-inch-thick insulating blanket, Rubb Thermohall, fits in the pocket between the walls to keep the interior from freezing. A generator-driven lighting and heating system was also installed

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