Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Win EXPO 2017 Design Contest

ASTANA – At an Oct. 22 press conference, representatives from winning American architectural company Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill (AS+GG) and the EXPO 2017 technical council and organisational company discussed the winning design and its impact on Astana and Kazakhstan as a whole. AS+GG’s design was approved by President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Oct. 16.

Chairman of the EXPO Technical committee Jeremy Rifkin, an economist and social theorist and the originator of the term “third industrial revolution,” called the AS+GG design the most practical in terms of sustainable development, artistic design and post-expo use. No buildings in the design will need to be destroyed after the exhibition, a key point for the contest’s judges, for whom post-expo use of the infrastructure was an important concern.

At the press conference, Rifkin said EXPO 2017 would be “a living laboratory,” and a site unique in the world. “We need a new economic vision for this world,” Rifkin said. EXPO 2017, by embodying all the pillars of the third industrial revolution – using renewable energy, using buildings as power plants, using storage technologies to use intermittent energy sources, using the Internet to transform the power grid and using plug-in vehicles for transport – will provide that vision. “Kazakhstan will give us a new roadmap for the future,” he added.

Robert Forest of AS+GG, author of the EXPO 2017 concept, said the EXPO 2017 site would be the first in the world to embody all the pillars of the third industrial revolution. He called the design “a game-changer in the world of applied sustainability research” and said the investment in knowledge and capacity-building in creating the expo would position Kazakhstan as a sustainability leader. The entire design, he said, “comes together as masterpiece, bringing together high design, engineering and culture as a showcase for the world.”

He said the project would form the basis of “a real, truly sustainable community that would serve as a legacy for Astana and Kazakhstan,” and would create a huge opportunity for Kazakhstan in research and knowledge, as the data collected from the project is currently coming from no other source.

According to project designers, all the energy consumed by visitors to the expo will be generated by renewable sources. The buildings themselves will be power plants that collect and use solar and wind energy and store heat underground. The area’s north-south orientation will maximise the passive collection of solar power.

The 173-hectare expo zone will contain more than 200 buildings, the centrepiece of which will be the Kazakhstan Pavilion, a 24,000 square-metre sphere that will be the largest built sphere in the world. The zone will be constructed in Astana’s Yessil district and bounded by Kabanbai Batyr Avenue, Hussein Bin Talal, Orynbor and Turar Ryskulov streets.