Below, in the interest of fairness is a compilation of questions and we've recieved regarding the CFP.  If your question is not answered below, please do not hesitate to send us a personal message at : design2009[at]arcticperpsective[dot]org.


1000-1500 kg planned include also food storage, technical equipement, laguage, means of transportation, fuel etcr (pls confirme or every item)?

Are the vehicles/engine required to transport the unit included in the mass limit of 1500 kg?

The 1500Kg maximum is a 'dry' weight.  This is a consideration before any of the systems such as hydroponics, computers, fuel, water and personnel are aboard.

When you say it must operate within a range of at least 500km radius, what exactly does this mean? The system must be able to support itself and three people for that distance? Or is it pointing to the fact that to travel anywhere in that range, multiple terrains must be crossed?

The 500km radius is a rough guideline.  We intend for the unit to be operation within that range of travel.  The unit could be towed, or self-powered and traverse a multitude of terrains.  However the systems on board must work within that radius.  Of course it doesn't have to travel 500km in one day, but it might over a season....or we envision a possible scenario for it sitting still for a season and only moving after a particular study / project is complete.  Flexibility is key...

Please explain a 19 inch frame technology and where could I find the exact parameters?

A 19-inch rack is a standardized (EIA 310-D, IEC 60297 and DIN 41494 SC48D) frame or enclosure for mounting multiple electronic modules. Each module has a front panel that is 19 inches (480 mm) wide, including edges or ears that protrude on each side which allow the module to be fastened to the rack frame with screws.
See for further explanation.

Please define what you mean with “Mobile“. Should this unit be able to be
transported by a helicopter or should it have itself an engine?

The unit can be self powered, or be towable by another vehicle such as a sno-mobile, or dog-team, reindeer, wind ect.

What is a “snow smelter”?

A device to melt snow to produce potable fresh water.

What is the life span of the station?

A 5 year minimum lifespan, with hopes for it to survive as long as possible.  At the end of it's lifespan, the unit will either be reporposed, or removed from the circumpolar region.

Are there to be seperate baths for the women?

Separate men's and women's baths are not necessary - we expect due to the nature of the work and the space requirements, there would be a shared bath.

How many women are in the group?

The team will be constantly shifting, sometimes it may work out there are only men, other times only women, however we expect some combination of the two.

You will give us the terrain or we can choose/create it?

The first unit built will be deployed near Igloolik, Nunavut.  The station is to be portable/movable, so in this sense we cannot give you a terrain, but it should be able to 'live' in a variety of terrains - typically in nunavut it is quite flat - or at least one could find a place where it is flat.

you might find the resources and links on this page to be interesting: (especially the interactive map)

What is the main focus, a very artistic and visionary idea or a visionary but realisable technical idea?

We intend to realize the unit in some combination of design solutions.  However, visionary ideas are always welcome.

Any specifics for the media-centric facility – dimensions of the work module - etc?

The only specifics we have are outlined in the CFP.  However, to further clarify, we didn't want to put any restrictions on physical size, as the unit could be deployable from a towable trailer, such as a tent structure or something similar.  Others may want to incorporate multiple small structures which can be linked, and so on.  We need to accommodate a number of people living and working, albeit we realize the space will of course be limited.
Printing poster size doesn’t correspond to any North American or European standards, please clarify.

Please simply use the following specs from the website:

    * 1.0     A digital file of a single presentation poster formatted for printing at 130cm x 50cm landscape format. The poster should be a minimum of 150 dpi and a maximum of 600 dpi in TIFF CMYK format.

In your software or scan of your drawing, please format your poster accordingly.  We will print the posters selected for the exhibition.

What are CFD files?

'Computational Fluid Dynamics" - please see:

NOTE these are NOT a requirement for entry, however if you would like to include them, we welcome your calculations.

'provision for modularity of systems on site'  - does this mean ideally more than on of the mobile could be fitted together to form a community like structure?
Yes, exactly.

Could you clarify how the occupants will be interacting with the local community? Will the unit be placed within a settlement or will they observe from a distance?

After the initial testing phase, there will be a core technical team made up of people from the local community,  which will be trained in the operation and maintenance of the unit.  In addition, the local community will also manage the use of the unit itself. We plan to have a sort of programming committee which will then plan the activities for unit as well. In this way we hope to have people from the larger circumpolar area to come and work with the unit as well as researchers from around the world use it as well - but who does what, and when will be decided by the local community, so in this way they will 'own' it.

Do you have any idea what an average day might be like for the occupants? Will they operate on a flexible schedule or have a fixed routine, will the unit be expected to accommodate visitors or large groups?

We suspect it will be very different all of the time.  However there will be typical systems and communal duties, like living in any isolated group, such as cooking and cleaning, setup, computer maintenance and so on. The unit will not be able to accept large groups as a visit, however when it is brought back to the town, then it could be 'on display' in a sense.

What does "open source architecture/system/machine" mean?

The intention here is to design a system that would be ultimately situated in the public domain, as a resource to people who would want to build a system or modify it. Architecture-system-machine is here to designate the different types of functions and modalities the unit should have. It is an architectural work, a system of systems and a machine for living, moving, working.

What do you mean by "containing mass/industrial and amateur production/manufacturing potential"?

The intention here is that the design should be optimised so it can be produced both on a very large scale and if someone wants, one should be able to build it in their own garage, as an amateur builder.

Do you mean that the design can be built both by a company in a factory or my an amateur in their garage?


We need to know Crew/Duration/Conditions, ie:
        a. how many people it is intended to support,          b. for how long, and          c. at what boundary temperature/s.

The crew should be a maximum of 3 people, up to 15 days, boundary temperatures for the Arctic-Antarctic conditions, i.e., -40 to 20, with the inside temperature minimum of 17 and a maximum of 23.

Mission Timeline: Is there a seasonal boundary on this unit's operation, or will it need to function year-round (in the Arctic)?

Year round should be the final goal, but Spring-Summer-Autumn operations are crucial.

Support utilities: Are we to assume external resources for any of the energy generation, waste processing, communications, storage or transportation functions?

Yes, the system can be modular and this can be part of the design.

Scope: Will there be just one or multiple units built to accommodate the stated program?

If you mean if there is an intention to build more than 1 prototype the answer is yes, if you are asking if there can be multiple units to accomplish the stated program, we would like to see as compact a design as possible, but if feasable for design purposes, you should be able to have multiple modules in a system.

Delivery: How is the unit delivered to its arena of operations?

We are not prescribing this, it is up to the design. It could be anything from helicopter drop, to shipping container to air cargo, to barge...

Mission: What is the primary activity the unit is intended to support?

Environmental sensing, media production, real time media dissemination from remote areas. Art-Science-Engineering collaborations, with Inuit participation in all areas.

In-Situ Support: What resources will be available on-site for assembly and activation of the habitat and support impedimenta?

A crew of 3 should be able to assemble and operate the system.

Life Cycle: Will the unit/s be re-stowed and removed from the arctic arena at the end of operations?


If no (if left in situ), what is the expectation for functionality during and after the hibernation period?

Depending on the design of course, but we would like them to be as sturdy as possible.

Standards: What standard/s or building code/s is this unit expected to meet in design and construction? (eg, MIL-STD TBD, OSHA, etc.)

MIL-STD 810E methods and specifications should be consulted, especially 502.3, 506.3, 507.3, 510.3, 512.3, 516.4, 520.1, AND 521.1.
But testing is not expected in this phase due to cost constraints.

Skill level: Who are the occupants expected to be, and what is their level of experience in extreme environments?

The systems should be simple enough to operate that a person with limited technical knowledge can go through a 7 day training session and is able to operate them.

Operations/Support: Will there be real-time monitoring of the team during their mission?

Yes. Real time communications are very important.

Emergency Response: What is the SAR plan and timeline in the event of emergency?

Standard EPIRB 406 MHz equipment should be installed and an emergency support system for 15 days should be part of the design considerations.

Communications/Telemetry: What kind of communications uplink/s and/or telemetry will the unit support?

SATCOM (Inmarsat), VHF, UHF, HF amateur radios and modems and open communications systems in the microwave ranges. 2.4 GHz, 868MHz, 902MHz and 1.2 GHz.

When i submit everything, do i need to scan the entry form and submit it as a jpeg with the rest of the submission material?

To fill out the form, you could enter the information using adobe's acrobat pro, or there is the freebie software formulatepro -, or you can use a trick with Microsoft word as described here: (we know this is on a mac hints page, but it should work across platforms)

failing all of that, you could print it out, fill it out by hand, scan it and send it to us.

Does everything need to be submitted in one email?

That would be best, however we understand if your file is over 10MB, then please use our FTP site or a service such as

Is there a formal pre-registration?

No, there is no pre-registration process.  Please simply enclose the registration form with your submission, by August 1st, 2009

Can the Japanese participate in MOBILE MEDIA-CENTRIC HABITATION AND WORK UNIT Competition?

The competition is open to all, from any country in the world.

Can students / teams enter the competition?

Yes. In the case of teams, please attach additional pages of the registration form clearly noting the team and all the members.

Is it allowed to deliver two different concepts for the competition?

Yes.  There is no limit for submissions.