The Future Energy Expo in Astana, Kazakhstan, ran from June to
September 2017. At the centre of the Expo site is a glass sphere
commissioned by President Nursultan Nazerbayev and designed
by Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, which
masterplanned an Expo City covering 174ha. The development has
two phases: the Expo and a legacy mode that will convert the site
into an office and innovation park with residential areas.
From the air, the site is a spoked wheel, whose hub is Nur Alem,
an 80m-diameter glass ball with eight floors and a total floor area of
26,000sqm. Its complex grid-shell structure and large double-curved,
insulated glass panels sit on top of an undulating glazed podium
with faceted, mirrored facades and curved awnings. The sphere is half
transparent and half translucent – the hemisphere with fritted glazing
facing south – and contains tiered terraces stretching out to the facade,
and giving views over the site.
AS+GG worked under a design-build contract with IT Engineering, a group
consisting of Turkey’s Sembol Construction and the Swiss Mabetex Group.
UK and Dubai-based Light Touch was appointed as lighting designer. Our
task at Lighting Lab.1 was to carry out daylight analysis
Glazing into a crystal ball
The Expo building is spherical apart from the scoop which accommodates photovoltaic
panels and allows wind to be channelled to energy-generating turbines
Faruk Uyan, founder of Istanbul-based consultancy Lighting Lab.1, presents the consultancy’s daylight analysis of Nur Alem,
the spherical heart of Expo City in Astana, Kazakhstan