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The ARQZE unit is a interdisciplinary collaboration dedicated to the investigation, development, and implementation of technologically informed strategies for human habitation in extreme zones. Founded in 1998 by Pol Taylor, marcelo Bernal, and pedro Srrano, the unit was initially situated within the Department of Architecture of the Santa Maria University in Valparaiso, chile, exploiting the platform for experimentation offered by the school and the technological expertise of this university. The ARQZE unit became independent in 2004 and incorporates architects, systems engineers, product and graphic designers in the development of new forms for habitation that seek to establish an equilibrium between human settlement and the existing energy flows within a zone through the insertion of contemporary soft technologies. ARQZE Articulates the advance colonisation of these zones through infrastructural systems that open a directed field for future development. Anticipating the immanent increase of antartic investigation and  tourism, ARQZE proposes to develop temporary and permanent shelter systems which respond eficiently and ecologically to the demands to which they will be exposed, introducing a new form of technological lifeform into this polar zone.


director           Pol Taylor [Architect] + Marcelo Bernal [architect]

collaborators  Pedro Serrano [systems engineer]

                         Francisco Valdes [indistrial designer]

                         Patricio Garcia [mechanical engineer]                                

                         Manuel Sanfuentes [graphic designer]                 

                         Takkatchi Hirose [architect]         

                         Andres Macera [architect]                      


Antarctica is the highest driest and coldest continent on earth, and its extreme energetic condition has resulted in the absence of biotic systems in its interior, and until modern times, its total isolation from human civilization. This energy frontier that is crossed where the ocean begins to freeze gives access to a completely virgin territory where scientific investigation is recently discovering decisive information about the climatic history of our planet. The inevitable impact of human presence in this environment was controlled by the madrid protocol in 1994, that proposed antarctica as a new model for environmental coexistence. However increasing scientific research conducted by national antarctica programmes  is now being joined by diverse tourist activities  to present a threat to the environment and the coastal ecosystems. The challenge of designing zero impact installations that permit the controlled introduction of human activity into this continent requires an integrated approach to design that combines logistical, environmental and programmatic dimensions within a holistic approach to the question of energy.  ARQZE has investigated the potentials and qualities for prototypical installations that are situated within the emerging logistical networks that are beginning to spread a technologically reinforced lifeform across the surface of the antarctic continent.




In antarctica all supplies and technologies are imported from urban centres in other continents. This dependence entails that transportation  infrastructure is essential for the development  of all activity. Logistical networks define potential and connectivity is fundamental. These networks define quantitative limitations and dimension the activity that is to be realized. Coastal stations can rely on the cargo capacity of supply ships while interior infrastructure is limited to the capacity of different types of aircraft. Supply networks negotiate between intercontinental and intracontinental scales in the development of integrated strategies for distribution. The first issue in all antartic matters is how do i get it there and what does it cost. Antarctic tactics proposes that  the articulation of these logistical issues into an infrastructural practice is a fundamental orientation for architects and designers in antartica 



The extremity of the  antarctic environment demands a significant  technological support for the introduction of  human life. The nature of these support systems has been profoundly affected by the madrid protocol that established a strict code of environmental protection for all antartctic activity. The traditional approach of introducing large scale systems that consume vast quantities of hydrocarbons is being transformed

by the adoption of diverse strategies for sustainable energy generation  that are incorporated into the design of the architectural body. These soft technologies make a significant impact on logistical planning and renegotiate the energetic  equation that is the major limitation on antarctic practice. The extreme climate in antartcia makes the performative dimension protagonic, and innovative  structural design and material specification are fundamental, together with a clear attitude towards deployment under adverse conditions.



Antarctic activity has passed through two phases in its short history. The initial heroic exploration has been 

followed by scientific investigation undertaken by national antarctica programmes of 30 the  member states of SCAR/COMNAP. This activity is now being complimented by an increasing quantity of touristic programmes based mainly in self sufficient passenger  ships around the coast with certain intrusions into the interior of the continent. With the development of optoelectronic technologies and satellite communications antarctic activity is now entering into a simultaneous continuity with the rest of civilization, opening the possibility of cultural and informational programmes that are exported  in an activity that produces the  constitution of a new virtual continent. The potential interrelation of these different layers of activity, together with the initiation of commercial interaction within the continent itself opens a field in which a new generation of networks and structures are emerging

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