A team comprising Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG) as design architect, Werner Sobek and PositivEnergy Practice (PEP) have been announced as the winners of a high profile international competition to masterplan the EXPO 2017 site in Astana, Kazakhstan. The two-phase project involves the construction of a comprehensive venue for the global event and a legacy phase which will transform this site into a ‘first Third Industrial Revolution community’.
The winning proposal ties in with the overarching theme of the expo which is ‘Future Energy’ in an effort to engage visitors in developmental discussions about alternative sources of energy and sustainable methods of transportation. As a result, environmentally-friendly design alternatives have been integrated throughout and the supporting infrastructure encourages the use of green transportation, such as pedestrian access or the use of vehicles that run on renewable fuels.
As Gordon Gill, FAIA, Partner at AS+GG explains: “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. The building will use this power directly or supply it to the district-wide smart grid for storage or use.” AS+GG Partner, Robert Forest AIA, furthers: “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.”
The first phase of the scheme includes the construction of 118,620 sq m of exhibition and cultural pavilions including the centrepiece, the Kazakhstan Pavilion, which measures 24,000 sq m and takes the shape of a sphere. These pavilions will be supported by a 686,000 sq m residential development, 72,000 sq m of parkland, visitor parking and service areas for shopping, education and civic amenities.
Once the 3-month expo has come to a close, the site will be transformed through a legacy project, converting the expo buildings into an office and research park to attract overseas investment. Integrated neighbourhoods will be formed on the site of expo parking lots and service zones and 700 additional residential units will be incorporated into this space. Offices, hotels, local markets, education and civic facilities are also folded into the plan.
Keeping in line with the ‘Future Energy’ focus of the expo, the winning design incorporates many sustainable features. The central Kazakhstan Pavilion sports an external skin that will reduce thermal loss and interior solar glare while, on a larger scale, the residential scheme has been masterplanned to reduce energy use through street grid rotation, distribution of building mass and block size.
The site-wide infrastructure concept, developed by the AS+GG team, is an integration of occupants, buildings and utilities. A smart energy grid, smart recycled water grid, integrated waste management system, and inter-seasonal underground thermal energy storage will be developed under the purview of AS+GG’s sustainable design group with sustainability goals that include peak and total energy demand reduction, water reduction and waste to landfill reduction targets.
PositivEnergy Practice (PEP) will develop the design for highly-efficient mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection and smart grid low-voltage systems inside the various individual buildings across the Expo site. They will also design the building integrated renewable energy systems distributed across the buildings, including solar panels, wind turbines, and ground-coupled heating and cooling technologies, as well as help to develop the design of the smart grid infrastructure.
Werner Sobek will develop optimised structural systems for the EXPO-2017 pavilions. The firm will also devise in detail the structural systems designed for the pavilion buildings during phase 1 will efficiently be converted into an office complex in phase 2.