Raul Martin Saet

Raul Martin Saet

Los Angeles, CA, US


CAARS : Canadian Advanced Arctic Research Station

Link to Video Animation:

Senior Project.

In 2007, the Federal Government of Canada announced in it's Speech from the Throne the intent to "build a world-class Arctic Research Station that will be on the cutting edge of Arctic issues, including environmental science and resource development.  This station will be built by Canadians, in Canada's Arctic, and it will be there to serve the world."

The project is a proposed design for a High Arctic Research Station described in the mandate.  Located north west of Resolute Bay, in the Canadian arctic archipelago, the design must respond to many constraints associated with extreme architecture.  The project focuses on three categories for a comprehensive response strategy.  The building form emerged as a strong response to the catagories of: extreme environment and energy generation, Human comfort factors and considerations, and Construct-ability and process.  

Experiencing constant high arctic winds, the outer skin of the building takes a deflecting aerodynamic / geometric form in order to reduce windchill and heat loss while also being oriented to maximize solar and prevailing wind directions.  The main building is lifted up off the ground, while deep thermal heat sync piles transfer geo-thermal heat up to the building.  The site design includes large wind turbine farm fields, generating over 45% of the station's energy needs year round.

The station is effectively located over 3000 miles away from any major city or industrial center, and the nearest settlement is Resolute Bay with a population less than 500.  Isolation, in terms of psychology and logistics becomes an issue for station occupants.  The main building is configured as long bar building composed of pre-fabricated modules that are 'plugged in' into a an assembled superstructure.  The bar is bisected  along the long axis by a 'green house belt' or hydroponics/garden space.  This space runs the length of the station and is the lungs of the project.  Work and living spaces are located adjacent, to the only greenery around for hundreds of miles.  Major glazing surfaces include the area above the green house belt and to the south side.  These surfaces are protected by a kinetic facade system, which acts as active shields that open or close, protecting the greenhouse from the elements, or allowing sun and breezes in to create an indoor/outdoor space.  During periods of extreme weather, the station cloisters itself, and the interior of the kinetic face is used as a projection surface, in order to create any desired simulated outdoor environment.  This idea of simulation plays strongly with the idea that the station is designed to facilitate regulated bio-rhythms for its occupants.  The High Arctic can experience 3-4 months of pure darkness and on the opposite end of the year 3-4 months of endless daylight.  This creates the need for an artificially created sense of day and night cycle.  This cycle is produced as a coordination between the greenhouse space, the automated kinetic facade system, and virtual simulation projections.

Due to geographical distance from industrialized areas, and a limited construction season window, a modular pre-fabricated assembly construction strategy is adopted.  The station architecture is a result of this modular construction and transportation process.  Modules are brought in via cargo ship and ferry.  They are transported on sleds or truck to the site to be assembled by imported cranes.  First the foundations are established, on which the  skeletal superstructure is erected. The structure  houses subsystems such as ventilation ducts, electrical and plumbing.  Modular packages which make up the 'rooms' and primary habitable spaces are plugged into the structure.  The entire assembly is wrapped with a modular skin panelized system.  


Occupancy: 40 personnel summer, 20 personnel winter

Square Footage: 45,000

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Status: School Project
Location: Resolute Bay, Nunavut, Canada
My Role: Project Designer