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CATABATIC SYSTEM

TRIAXIAL SHELTER SYSTEM

The Catabatic System is an interconnective tent system specifically designed for antarctic conditions and based on a concept of triaxial organization and double curvature membranes. This design permits a high strength-to-weight ratio and provides secure, user-friendly shelter in the most extreme environments on earth, generating specific solutions to habitational requirements, including scientific expeditions and bases, tourism and low impact residential living.

 

history

The system was developed on the basis of experience gained in the design and installation of EPTAP, the first permanent Blue Ice Station, developed in collaboration with the Chilean airforce and deployed in 1999 at Patriot Hills, Antartica. The first prototype of the catabatic system was developed and deployed as the sala sastruggi in the subsequent mission of 2000, and its 60m2 configured the main social space of the EPTAP station. This prototype performed extremely well and was used each summer through to 2007 when the operation of the station was suspended.

 

high latitude materiality

The catabatic system is designed from materials of the highest specifications to withstand the extreme temperatures experienced at latitude 80º south in the antartic interior.

 

structure. The system incorporates a structure of extruded 6061T6 aluminium arcs formed in a prototipical profile specifically designed to resist extreme wind loading while receiving a series of steel cables that fix the tensed membranes in a system similar to yacht technology. 

skin. The interior is protected by a series of double curvature membranes that incorporate polyester webbing of the highest specification. These hyper parabolic surfaces interact aerodynamically with the wind, and the anticlastic geometry of the double curvature defines each point in a specific location in space which avoids the vibration and fatigue experienced in standard tent solutions.

insulation. A 50mm layer of closed pore polyurethane provides continuous insulation between the double membrane envelope, and in the floor panels, allowing internal temperatures of +10ºC while externally the temperatures drop to -30ºC. The internal membrane is finished in a reflective surface that avoids energy losses through radiation.

thermal chamber. Access is through a rigid transparent door that leads to a thermal exchange chamber where incoming air is warmed before entering the tent.

transparency. Natural illumination, solar gain, and extensive visual contact with the exterior is established through a large panoramic visor made from double layer of transparent polycarbonate panels and inserted into the membrane. These visors can be closed by insulated curtains to permit sleep in the nightless Antartic summer.

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GLACIAR UNION 2013

 

In 2013 the Catabatic prototype was extracted from Patriot Hills along with the complete EPTAP station  and redeployed to Union Glaciar. For its reinsertion the membranes were completely redesigned,  including translucent insulation in its double skin to maximize the energetic input from the abundant solar radiation, configuring the command centre of the new station, and offering completely new cycle of use.