Architecture decor

Expo 2017 Legacy: World’s Largest Sphere

This summer, from June 10 to September 10, Kazakhstan’s capital Astana hosted one of the most prominent events of the year – the International Specialized Exhibition EXPO 2017.

115 countries and 22 international organizations took part in the exhibition.

3,500 events were organized during the exhibition, and around 4 million people have visited the venue.

An exhibition facility for such a major project was constructed on the Left (southern) Bank of the Ishim River in Astana on a total area of 174 hectares. EXPO site itself occupies 25 hectares, the remaining space (149 hectares) was developed for residential use and infrastructure facilities.

Courtesy of Astana EXPO 2017

Courtesy of Astana EXPO 2017

Courtesy of Astana EXPO 2017

Courtesy of Astana EXPO 2017

+ 10

EXPO 2017 was designed by the eminent Chicago-based design firm Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture with a special focus on the exhibition topic, Future Energy.

The key architectural structure of the exhibition complex was the pavilion of Kazakhstan – Nur Alem. This is the world’s largest spherically-shaped building, measuring 100 m in height from plinth level and 80 m in diameter. Its total area is 24,000 sq. m.

Constructing this unique eight-storeyed building required the use of over 13,000 tonnes of metal and 3,535 insulated glass windows weighing 1,626 tonnes.

The glass used in Nur Alem is of a unique, two-directionally arched shape, which helps avoid angles and light refraction. Each insulated glass unit has been designed for its specific installation spot.

In accordance with the topic of EXPO 2017 “Future Energy”, Nur Alem’s façade incorporates photovoltaic elements that transform solar energy into electricity and two noiseless wind generators at the very top of the sphere.

Nur Alem was the most frequently visited location during Expo 2017 (1,300,000 people) – not surprisingly, because eight floors of the sphere showcased the key sources of renewable energy, such as space, sun, biomass, wind, water, and kinetics.

The content of Nur Alem was carried out by a well-known exhibition consultant and co-founder of the Swiss studio Curiocation Raid Sabbah.

At the top, eighth, floor of the Sphere, where you can see a breath-taking view of Astana, an image of Astana’s future is presented, with a model of how the city would presumably look like in 2050, driven by sustainable development and the use of energy-efficient technologies.

The main goal of the exposition is to make visitors think about the future of our planet in order to conserve it for the next generations. Here visitors can get information on a variety of topics, including energy, innovative technologies in use today and the potential of renewable energy sources.

After the post-exhibition reconstruction of the complex, Nur Alem will continue to work as the Museum of Future Energy. The organizers believe it will be opened by as early as this November.