Stefano Boeri Architetti
JSC National company “Astana - EXPO 2017”
Masterplan and architectural design, international competition
Stefano Boeri (partner in charge), Michele Brunello (project director), Pietro Chiodi (project leader), Alessandro Agosti, Moataz Faissal Farid, Anastasia Kucherova, Francesca Motta, Giorgio Zangrandi
Images: © ATTU
Partner: AREP, Norma s.r.l., Topotek 1, Valode & Pistre Architects, MIC Mobility in chain
Consultants: MABCO, Sandro Boeri, Department of the Energy of Politecnic University of Milan
Expo in Astana 2017 was conceived as a place where humanity will have the chance to experience and to compare the most advanced technologies that will empower the lives of 8 billion women and men with a clean renewable energy, accessible to all. The “Future above Astana” project and the 1 km “stalk”, a high tech/technology tower and a symbol of EXPO 2017, candidate themselves as a World Lab for the most advanced experiments in the fields of renewable energy sources, extraction, accumulation, storage and distribution of clean energy. They offer a meeting place to scientists, researchers, technicians, operators of the energy sector, students, politicians and administrators from all over the world, where researches and experiments on new materials and devices will be carried out, with the aim of a better exploitation of clean, renewable and accessible energy.
The Astana Tower of the Third Industrial Revolution would be a manifesto for the emerging transition of the world economy to renewable energy consistent with the “Third Industrial Revolution” (TIR) concept developed by Jeremy Rifkin. The “5 Pillars” of this concept include principles of shifting from non-renewable to renewable energy sources, conceiving buildings to function as their own power plants, deploying energy storage technology for hydrogen and other sustainable fuels, using internet technology to transform the electric power grid to one that is smart and much more efficient, and transitioning the transport fleet from traditional fossil-fueled to electric, plug-in and fuel cell vehicles. Together with the Bayterek Tower – Astana’s city symbol – the Astana Tower will demonstrate the will and capacity of the people of Kazakhstan to join the world’s leading nations on the way to a sustainable ecological, social and economic environment.
Great events such as Expo and the Olympic Games, World Championships and political and economic summits of global era are great accelerators of urban transformation and become world stages that bring to the fore the plans and expectations of a place. Astana was built, from its recent origins as a barycentric city of the Eurasian region. The Expo will be the moment when it’s going to declare to the world its implicit program. The city is based on the exploitation of traditional energy sources, but it establishes as a challenge an ambitious goal – to become the worldwide reference on renewable energies of the future and a place for the concrete implementation of Rifkin’s vision. The Expo 2017 will be the “launching pad” for a number of innovative technologies that will create a new urban ecology, based on a different relationship between man and energy.
The landscape of the Astana Expo is structured by two radial green axys that cross in the center of the site. They lead from the city center and the exterior surrounding to the central expo area, where the national pavilions and the Kazakhstan pavilion are situated. The North-South axis continues the green linear park that leads from the Bayterek monument to the expo site. This formal green boulevard offers a monumental entrance to drivers and pedestrian reaching the heart of the expo site. The East-West axis, connecting with the University, hosts an informal landscape of fruit trees, providing space for leisure and rest at the shade of the fruit trees. Beside this green cross, other landscape areas can be found: a multi-use forest on the East side of the site, and a colza field combined with parking at the South side. At the center of the expo site, the different national pavilions accommodate green houses for leisure and agriculture. In its center, a circular water feature is adorned with lush water vegetation. Every area is a productive landscape. The central water pound cleans the water of the whole expo site. The multi-purpose forest is composed of fast growing trees that produce biomass. The colza fields produce biofuel.
The expo site, in its legacy, has two complementary objectives: to become a generative model for an energetic upgrade of the existing city and its future expansion, and become a global reference point for trials in the field of renewable energy.
The whole project is to be built on the legacy and the facilities are ready to host future functions right after the big event, with no major physical changes but only welcoming new citizens who will inhabit them. Functional flexibility has become a part of the project program. This is a revolutionary concept in the history of the EXPOs, which have historically been events set up by the temporary structures that have been successful only when the permanent heritage of the event was “inhabited” and “lived” later.