Utopian Building in Moscow – The Largest in the World?


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Crystal Island

One look at this building and it can be seen that it’s enormous structure will tower over the city. The firm of Foster + Partners who designed the Khan Shatyr Entertainment Centre in Astana, Kazakhstan has plans for this mega-structure in Moscow. Even though the project was put on hold in 2009 it looks like construction on Moscow’s future icon has begun.

The statistics for the project are absolutely staggering; floor area alone will be four times the size of Pentagon in Washington DC. This incredible 1500 ft. tall multi use structure will house 900 apartments, a 3000 room hotel , an international school complex that will house 500 students, it will also have several cinemas, a theater, sports complex and much more. The underground parking lot for visitors will contain 16,500 parking spaces . Visitors that visit or for those who choose to live in Crystal Island will be able to enjoy panoramic views of Moscow on the viewing platforms located 980 ft. above ground. Moscow will finally have it’s permanent New Year‘s tree.

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Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center

Unlike the pipe dreams of other projects, Sir Norman Foster knows how to get these building built. The Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center is one of  those projects. This project is the world’s tallest tensile structure in Astana, Kazakhstan. The building itself houses a range of leisure facilities and public spaces such as cinemas, restaurants, and public parks as can be seen in the pictures above. The success of this building is due to its three-layer envelope which provides shelter against Kazakhstan’s extreme climate where temperatures soar to 35°C in summer and slide down to minus -35°C in winter. In winter, a key challenge is to prevent the formation of ice on the inside of the envelope. This is achieved by a combination of temperature control and directing warm air currents up the inner surface of the fabric, a strategy that also prevents downdrafts. In summer, frittering on the outermost foil layer provides solar shading. Inside, low-level jets direct cool air across the space, while opening vents at the apex induce stack-effect ventilation. But what truly make this building unique are the different levels that form undulating terraces, the uppermost terrace forming a water park. “Khan Shatyr has become a modern icon and will be an important new destination for the people of Astana to enjoy at all times of the year, whatever the weather.

The future in Eastern Russia

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Like the other two projects Sir Norman Foster has plans to take his futuristic designs to the far east of Russia. Thus raising the bar on avant-garde green architectural icons in the furthest corners of the world, Foster + Partners has just revealed their designs for a new ecological tower in Khanty Mansyisk, Siberia. Similar to entertainment center in Kazakhstan, the stunning tower will combine a cloud-piercing aesthetic with mixed-use functions and some of the most cutting-edge green building technologies in the world.

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