This paper reviews the role of lightweight structures in remote- and pristine-areas, in particular the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic region, which can be seen as a natural laboratory for testing minimal-impact design strategies due to its extreme harsh natural conditions and the environmental threat represented by the increasing human presence. The first part of the paper briefly reviews the evolution of Antarctic infrastructure and some of its characteristics. It then goes on to discuss the role of lightweight structures in the southernmost region, and to present a set of case-studies of minimal structures particularly designed for this context. Some common aspects and unique qualities are then derived from the design and construction processes of these projects. Finally, an explorative geometry-based design method is presented, which intends to respond to some of the specific problems of working with lightweight structures in remote areas.