Building the Princess Elisabeth Station - Copyright: René Robert


Building the Princess Elisabeth Station

Client: International Polar FOundation

I have known Alain Hubert for many years now. When his International Polar Foundation asked me to be the official photographer during the construction phase of the Princess Elisabeth Station in Antarctica, I just said yes.

I spent several seasons in Antarctica, accompanying the construction team and doing my share of work as part of the team on top of taking pictures.

Although nobody was skying or mountaineering, this remains one the most extreme adventure I ever took part in. The team was working around the clock to get the building up before the return of the Antarctic winter.

I still vividly remember the moment when the main building was completed. The feeling of relief and accomplishment of every member of the team was quite palpable. We made it!

Selected Pictures

First pillars

The first wooden pillars are up. Next step: bringing the modules in and attaching them to that structure.

  • East Antarctica


First wall modules are coming in and the tower is shaping up nicely.

  • East Antarctica

The ridge

Hard at work on the ridge upon which Princess Elisabeth is built to avoid snow accumulation.

  • East Antarctica

Through the ice

I was on board the Ivan Papanin when that ice class cargo was making its way through the pack.

  • East Antarctica

A quick nap

Posing with the bulldozer. Pictures were a nice way to make a break for these people who were working around the clock to build the station.

  • East Antarctica


Alain Hubert giving out his orders during the first unloading of the ship.

  • East Antarctica

Nuts and bolts

Finishing the roof of the station, whith the Sør Rondane Mountains in the background.

  • East Antarctica


The Prinoth tractors during the first of the numerous traverses to the coast and back. That 200 Km trip to the coast in those slow but powerful tractors is an adventure in and of itself.

  • East Antarctica

Snow Clearing

Spring cleaning: Antarctica style.

  • East Antarctica


The station as no heating system. The building is so well insulated that it doesn't need any heating.

  • East Antarctica

Base Camp

Our camp during the construction phase. Looking very organised, don't you think?

  • East Antarctica