Khan Shatyr opens in Astana

Tuesday 06 Jul 2010

Funnel-shaped entertainment center opens amid grand celebrations in Kazakhstan

The world’s tallest tensile structure was officially opened on Monday night, deliberately timed to coincide with the 70th birthday of Kazakhstan's leader, President Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev. The celebrations included a performance by Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and were attended by multiple heads of state.

Soaring 150m from an elliptical base, the conical Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center is a new civic, cultural and social venue for the people of Astana. Amenities on offer include retail facilities, cafes, restaurants, cinemas, a water park and flexible entertainment spaces which are designed to accommodate a range of events and exhibitions. As the tallest point on the Astana skyline, the building encloses an area in excess of 100,000 sq m within an Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene dome, specifically designed to regulate the extreme fluctuations of the local environmental conditions.

With temperatures in Astana ranging from -35°C in winter to +35°C in the height of summer, architecture firm Foster + Partners had to come up with a way to regulate the internal temperature whilst allowing daylight to enter the inner space. In order to do so, they incorporated a three-layer ETFE envelope, which ticks both boxes. With such a dip in temperature during the winter months, there is a possibility that ice could form on the inside of the envelope. To combat this, Foster + Partners have included a combination of temperature control and the blasting of warm air currents up the inner surface of the fabric – an operation that also prevents downdrafts. In summer, fritting on the outermost foil layer provides solar shading, whilst inside low-level jets direct cool air across the space and opening vents at the apex induce stack-effect ventilation.

Commenting on the opening Nigel Dancey, a Design Director at Foster + Partners, said: “Khan Shatyr will be an important new destination for the people of Astana to enjoy at all times of the year, whatever the weather. We are delighted to celebrate its official opening today. With the Palace of Peace and Khan Shatyr, we are proud to have designed the two landmark structures for such prominent points along the city’s main axis – their forms express the change of emphasis and function, from religion to entertainment, as you pass along this grand new boulevard.”

Sian Disson
News Editor

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