antarctic memorial

client: antarctic memorial trust | site: port stanley, falkland islands 2014 and cambridge 2012 | material: stainless steel

video - antarctic memorial - oliver barratt

One work in two halves

The Antarctic is a vast frozen continent of ice and rock.  Twice the size of Australia, it contains 90% of the world’s fresh water and is the coldest, windiest and driest place on the planet.  Over the past 100 years, British scientists have been working to discover the secrets of this icebound land.  In this endeavour, 29 people have lost their lives.

The Antarctic memorial has been commissioned to commemorate their loss. However, this memorial not only enshrines the names of the dead, but also acts out the sense of loss that the friends and family experience.  It is a single memorial made in two parts, one in the UK, and the other in the Falklands Islands, the gateway to the Antarctic.

In Cambridge, the British Antarctic Survey and the Scott Polar Research Center train and send scientists to the Antarctic.

Standing at the entrance to the Scott Polar Research Center, two half – tone beams of carved English oak lean on each other, the interior form describes a shallow vertical ellipse. In Port Stanley the capital of the Falkland Islands, the same form, but made from mirror-polished stainless steel, upward pointing and leaning towards the sea, sits on an engraved bronze base.  In Cambridge, the form is made from the warm richness of the earth, natural and organic, while in the Falklands, the cold brilliance of the mirror-finished steel is of the air rather than the earth.

The two forms complete each other, but remain forever apart, calling to each other, although the whole world separates them.


Oliver Barratt, January 2015


The memorial

The purpose of the British Antarctic Monument is to promote to honour those explorers and scientists who have carried out hazardous duties in the pursuit of scientific knowledge in the British Antarctic Territory.

The monument will increase the awareness of the British peoples, and those of other nations, to the contribution that Britain has made to the exploration and understanding of this remote area and the significance their discoveries have on us today and our future lives.

Oliver Barratt has designed  a unique work which is in two parts – one in the United Kingdom and the other in Antarctica. This will reflect the environmental and scientific link between Britain and the Antarctic whilst at the same time recognising the emotional and physical separation experienced by explorers.

One part symbolises a mould from which the other part has been cast. The mould will be carved  in British Oak. The needle shaped casting will be made in stainless steel to reflect the surrounding landscape and to withstand the effects of snow and ice. It will be positioned in the Antarctic at an angle so that it points back through the Earth towards the mould in the United Kingdom. It is intended that the names of those who did not return should be inscribed on the work.

British Antarctic Monument Trust website >>