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“House. Memories” to appear at Antarctica


Art installation “House. Memories” will appear at the Vernadsky Reserch Base in 2022. It is designed by the architects of the Balbek Bureau, and executed by the research and design bureau “Workshop of Miracles” and “Silpo”.


An old decommissioned fuel tank is located on the territory of the station, and it is almost the first thing that visitors see and falls on most tourist photos. For several years now, the National Antarctic Research Center (NACC) has wanted to rethink the aesthetics of this industrial building: to make the harsh landscape more pleasant for polar explorers and present Ukraine to the international community.

The Silpo chain has offered the scientists joy to the guests when they miss their home the most. The balbek bureau and the Workshop of Miracles were involved in the project.

“House. Memories” is a sketch made of metal, which seems to draw the outlines of a Ukrainian house around a fuel tank. For our researchers, it is a living memory of home. For tourists – an opportunity to get acquainted with Ukraine through our native, but not banal, visual image. You can walk around the house and see exciting things about Ukraine – because most Antarctic tourists will learn about our country during a visit to the Vernadksy Research Base. Therefore, boards with facts about Ukraine and the station, as well as symbolic objects such as a lump of black soil or a fragment of an embroidered shirt will be placed on the walls of the tank.

“We proposed to create an installation inspired by a typical Ukrainian house – one that is associated with warmth, comfort, and vacation in my grandmother. We analysed buildings in different areas and compiled a composite image of a Ukrainian house – with a slate roof, chimney, and distinctive windows. It was decided to recreate this image with the help of a thin, detailed frame around the tank. According to our plan, the installation should resemble a pencil sketch: someone remembers his house and sketches from memory.” – Slava Balbek

“When we first saw the idea, we were thrilled. This is the augmented reality of the house they long for so much, and at the same time rejoice in the memories of it, – shares Eugene Dyky, director of the National Academy of Sciences. – We are grateful to the team for taking into account all our wishes. After all, the art installation should be beautiful in the most unfavorable conditions: frosts down to -30 C, strong winds, meters of snowdrifts, and thousands of highly inquisitive representatives of the Antarctic fauna. In addition, it should be pretty easy to install with minimal equipment and personnel and be easy to maintain.

Architects and engineers are designing the installation “House. Memories” given the harsh weather, limited resources at the station, and the long icebreaker road to Antarctica.

“We are working to make the construction easy to transport and install,” said Mitya Zinoviev, head of the Miracle Workshop. – Details will be marked and arranged in sections, so the house will be easy to reproduce according to instructions. Metal pipes made of stainless steel will be folded into a light but strong frame. We will provide additional resistance to bad weather by cables with which we will strengthen a design. To make sure that the art is stable, we are protesting it in Ukraine together with the polar explorers.”

To date, design work has been completed, and assembly has begun. After a test installation with the participation of polar explorers in Ukraine, the installation will be dismantled again. All materials will be uploaded to the Noosphere icebreaker to Antarctica in January 2022. Participants of the 27th Ukrainian Antarctic Expedition at the station will build it independently.