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6 Politically Motivated Cities Built From Scratch

Threatening to end Cairo’s 1,046 year dominance as the country’s capital, earlier this month the government of Egypt announced their intentions to create a new, yet-to-be-named capital city just east of New Cairo. The promise of the more than 270 square mile ‘new New Cairo’ has attracted headlines from around the world with its sheer scale; a $45 billion development of housing, shopping and landmarks designed to attract tourism from day one, including a theme park larger than Disneyland. And of course, the plans include the promise of homes - for at least 5 million residents in fact, with the vast number of schools, hospitals and religious and community buildings that a modern city requires - making the new capital of Egypt the largest planned city in history.

The idea of building a new capital city has appealed to governments across history; a way to wipe the slate clean, stimulate the economy and lay out your vision of the world in stone, concrete and parkland. Even old Cairo was founded as a purpose built capital, although admittedly urban planning has changed a little since then. It continues to change today; see the full list of different ways to build a totally new city after the break.

Image of the planned new capital of Egypt, masterplanned by SOM. Image © SOM Train station. Image © SOM Government District. Image © SOM Concept of Cairo's replacement by Skidmore, Owings and Merril. Image © SOM

The Godfather's Theatre of Views / ROBOT ARCHITECTS

  • Architects: ROBOT ARCHITECTS
  • Location: Samara, Samara Oblast, Russia
  • Architects in Charge: Stadnikov Vitaly, Fedorov Oleg
  • Area: 290.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Courtesy of ROBOT ARCHITECTS


Palace of Schoolchildren / Studio 44 Architects

© Margarita Yawein
© Margarita Yawein
  • Architects: Studio 44 Architects
  • Location: Bauyrzhan Momyshuly Avenue, Astana, Kazakhstan
  • Design Team: Nikita Yavein, Sergey Aksenov, Darya Gordina, Mariam Zamelova, Vladimir Zenkevich, Ivan Kozhin, Darya Nasonova, Natalya Poznyanskaya, Nikolay Smolin, Yanina Smolina, George Snezhkin with the participation of Natalya Arkhipova, Ygor Britikov, Mariya Vinogradova, Ilya Grigoryev, Veronika Zhukova, Evgeniya Kuptsova, Elena Loginova, Nikolay Novotochinov, Kseniya Schastlivtseva, Anton Yar-Skryabin
  • Area: 18700.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2011
  • Photographs: Margarita Yawein

© Margarita Yawein © Margarita Yawein © Margarita Yawein © Margarita Yawein

Haileybury Astana School / Cinici Architects

  • Architects: Cinici Architects
  • Location: Astana, Kazakhstan
  • Architect in Charge: Can Çinici
  • Architecture Team: Cem Katkat, Goksenin Ekiyorum, Selim Koytak, Tim Kovats
  • Project Manager: Mert Gokturk
  • Area: 20500.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2009
  • Photographs: Cemal Emden

© Cemal Emden © Cemal Emden © Cemal Emden © Cemal Emden

AS+GG Wins Competition for Astana World EXPO 2017

Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG) has been announced as winner of a major design competition for World EXPO-2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan. Selected from 105 entrants, which included the likes of Coop Himmelb(l)au, Zaha Hadid Architects and UNStudio, AS+GG’s 173.4 hectare proposal plans to build on the Expo’s theme “Future Energy” by becoming the “first Third Industrial Revolution city.”

Astana Medya Center / Tabanlıoğlu Architects

  • Architects: Tabanlıoğlu Architects
  • Location: Kazakhstan
  • Architect in Charge: Melkan Gürsel, Murat Tabanlıoğlu
  • Design Team: Salih Yılgörür, Emre Özberk, Fırat Güneş Balcı,, Ali Çalışkan, Canan Sarıdal, Tuğçe Güleç, Emre Çetinel, Anday Bodur, Cengiz Özdemir
  • Interior Design: Tabanlıoğlu Architects
  • Main Contractor: Sembol Construction
  • Structural: Stroy Project
  • Mechanical Consultancy: DEC Mühendislik
  • Area: 83280.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Thomas Mayer

© Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer

EXPO 2017 Finalist Proposal / Saraiva + Associados

Designed for the Expo 2017 theme "The Energy of the Future", Saraiva + Associados' proposal was recently selected as one of the top 10 finalists in the competition. Their concept proposes an enduring landmark in Astana that integrates renewables, efficiency, clean technologies and sustainability into livable and feasible architecture where "Energy is Life". From the master plan to the individual buildings, this design embraces the idea that "Life should be built on the conservation of energy" and clearly makes a statement that energy concerns on Buildings and City Planning can be put immediately into action - and the best way to do it is by providing high quality contemporary concepts that efficiently integrates proven technology into feasible designs that can effectively make the difference today. More images and architects' description after the break.

Top Firms Compete to Design Kazakhstan's World Expo in 2017

Zaha Hadid Architects, Coop Himmelb(l)au, UNStudio, and Snøhetta are some of the 45 shortlisted practices competing to design the International Specialized Exposition (Expo 2017) in Astana, Kazakhstan. Each practice, selected from more than a 100 proposals worldwide, has submitted their own interpretation of the expo’s theme: "Future Energy". Come September, the jury will announce which vision best represents what will be the country’s first world fair.

“The theme of our exhibition is closely related to 'green economy', which takes into account the possibility of using alternative energy sources and the autonomous water and heat provision in each of the constructions," said Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Astana-EXPO 2017 Competition

Upon their recent selection to host the International Specialized Exposition in 2017 (EXPO 2017) with a theme Energy of the Future, National Company Astana and Mayor’s Office of Astana launched a sponsored international architectural competition for the development of a concept design of EXPO facilities, including an installation to serve as the symbol of EXPO 2017 in Astana. The objective of the competition is to get conceptual architectural and urban planning solutions and ideas for EXPO facilities. The competition began last week and will last until June 18.The winner will get award equal to 15 Million KZT (equivalent to US$ 100,000). For more information, please visit here.

Astana Arena / Tabanlioglu

  • Architects: Tabanlioglu
  • Location: Astana, Kazakhstan
  • Architect: Tabanlıoğlu / Melkan Gürsel & Murat Tabanlıoğlu
  • Project Team: Murat Cengiz, Salih Yılgörür, Hakan Bağcı, Süleyman Akka, Nihal Şenkaya Akkaş, Mehmet Vaizoğlu, Serhat Yavuz, Arzu Çetingöz, Ahmet Çorapçıoğlu
  • Structural Engineer: Buro Happold (London), Arce (İstanbul)
  • Mechanical Engineer: Dinamik
  • Electrical Engineer: HB Teknik
  • Sports Consultant: Populous
  • Client: Alke - Sembol
  • Main Contractor: Alke - Sembol
  • Site Area: 232,485 sqm
  • Hard / Soft Landscape: 194,531 sqm
  • Area: 0.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2007
  • Photographs: Cemal Emden

© Cemal Emden © Cemal Emden © Cemal Emden © Cemal Emden

BIG seeks Russian-speaking Project Leader for Kazakhstan Presidential Library

BIG is looking for a Project Leader to head up the BIG team responsible for developing the new Presidential Library in Astana, Kazakhstan, which we previoulsy featured in ArchDaily and got many comments from our readers.

The new library, named after the first President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, encompasses an estimated 33.000m2. Being one of the future cornerstones of Kazakh nation-building, and a leading institution that will represent the Kazakh national identity, the library goes beyond a mere architectural challenge.

The new Presidential Library in Astana, Kazakhstan’s new capital since 1997, shall not only accumulate history but also provide a foundation for new futures. It will serve as an intellectual, multifunctional and cultural center with the primary goal to reflect the establishment and development of Kazakhstan, its political history, and the Head of the State’s activities and roles in the development of the country.

Requirements after the break.

National Library in Astana, Kazakhstan / BIG

BIG was recently awarded with the first prize on an open international design competition for  Kazakhstan’s new National Library in Astana.

The new building has an area of  33.000 sqm, arranged as a continuous circulation on a Möbius Strip, as the result of 2 interlocking structures: the perfect circle and the public spiral. The sections (see below) clearly show how the horizontal program shifts to a vertical configuration,  combining vertical hierarchy, horizontal connectivity and diagonal view lines. The skin, which changes from wall to roof as the strip develops. It sounds a bit complicated, but the sections and diagrams explain this pretty well, and you can get the idea on how the spaces and diagonal views relate on the renderings. In short words, a clear lineal organization (ideal for an archive, library) is mixed with an infinite loop.

“What is a library but an efficient archive of books… and a path for the public to reach them” (Thomas Christoffersen, Project Leader)

This shape also looks forward to become a symbol for the nation: “the circle, the rotunda, the arch and the yurt are merged into the form of a Moebius strip. The clarity of the circle, the courtyard of the rotunda, the gateway of the arch and the soft silhouette of the yurt are combined to create a new national monument appearing local and universal, contemporary and timeless, unique and archetypal at the same time” (Bjarke Ingels).

But once again, BIG diagram´s are way better to explain this than my words. See the diagrams, sections and renderings after the break:

Republic Square / Eric Owen Moss Architects

Eric Owen Moss Architects created a mixed use tower that neighbours the capitol building in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The republic square is part of a large-scale development across the city of Almaty.

The tower itself is 126,000 square feet that will be divided up between retail, office, hotel and residential spaces. The building is a long tower which is anchored to the ground by a 38 meter diameter spiral. This feature will enclose an indoor plaza or ‘winter garden’ connecting the two sides. The spiral provides major support for the structure and encapsulates the five public venues near the ground level. In between these five spaces, four courtyards let natural let in and are each shaped to represent the four seasons of the year.

Seen at designboom. More images after the break.