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.”

The design “will embody the five pillars of the Third Industrial Revolution” - a phrase, as Gizmodo points out, that was borrowed from economist Jermey Rifikin whose popular book The Third Industrial Revolution theorizes how Internet technology and renewable energy will transform energy, the economy and the World. Rifikin’s ideology has been adopted by Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev, who believes the new era will be centered around renewable energy and hopes AS+GG’s winning design will be the first major step towards his sustainable vision of Kazakhstan.

Once complete in June 2017, AS+GG's first phase of Expo City will feature an abundance of self-sustaining exposition buildings, pavilions, retail, art and performance spaces, as well as hotel, residential and office accommodations, within a "smart grid" that will allow buildings to become “generators of power.” All energy will be provided by renewable sources and power will be stored using innovative technologies.

© Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
© Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

At it’s heart, Expo City will feature the sustainable development's centerpiece: the Kazakhstan Pavilion. Visitors will be enthralled by its “transformative skin” that will “reduce thermal loss and interior solar glare,” while a host of integrated systems, including photovolatics, will save and increase the building’s energy output.

“The forms and language of the buildings are designed to reduce their energy needs and operate as “power plants” that harness energy from the sun and/or wind,” says AS+GG Partner Gordon Gill, FAIA. “The buildings will use this power directly or supply it to the district-wide smart grid for storage or use.”

© Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

“The crucial difference of this project is that it is not a demonstration. EXPO-2017 will form the basis of a truly sustainable community that will serve as a legacy for Astana and Kazakhstan.” says AS+GG Partner, Robert Forest AIA. “The sustainable aspects of the project will continue after the expo is finished. The design will be a catalyst for scientific/academic research and development, which will create new industries, unique skill sets and new job opportunities.”

After the conclusion of the Expo, the second and final phase will take place. Known as the “Legacy Mode,” this phase will finalize the first Third industrial Revolution community. Expo buildings will be converted into an office and research park in attempt to attract international companies and entrepreneurs, while parking and service zones are transformed into thriving and first class integrated neighborhoods. This will include an additional 700 residential units, as well as office, hotels, local markets, and civic and educational facilities. 

References: AS+GG, EXPO-2017, Gizmodo

About this author
Cite: Karissa Rosenfield. "AS+GG Wins Competition for Astana World EXPO 2017" 01 Nov 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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